The United States has reportedly reached a $6 billion deal with Iran to release five American detainees from prison.
Reportedly, Iranian Americans Siamak Namazi, Imad Sharqi, and Morad Tahbaz, as well as two unnamed prisoners, were all being held on charges of espionage in the notorious Evin Prison, and are now placed under house arrest in a Tehran hotel. New York times.
The US government will unfreeze oil assets worth six billion dollars, and a number of Iranian prisoners will also be released as part of the deal, according to the newspaper.
Jared Genser, Mr. Namazi’s lawyer, said the group would be held at the hotel for several weeks before they were allowed to board the plane and leave the country.
The sources told the newspaper that one of the unnamed Americans is a scientist and the other is a businessman. Another American prisoner has already been transferred to house arrest.
“Iran’s move of American hostages from Evin Prison to expected house arrest is an important development,” Mr. Genser told CNN. “While I hope this is the first step to its eventual release, this is at best the beginning of the end and nothing more.”
“There are simply no guarantees about what happens from here,” he added.
Mr. Namazi was arrested in 2015 while on a business trip to Iran and charged with having “relations with an enemy country.” His father, Bagher Namazi, was released in October 2022 after more than six years of imprisonment in Iran.
Mr. Al-Sharqi, a businessman, and Mr. Tahbaz, an environmental expert, were arrested in 2018. All of the men have denied the allegations against them, and the US State Department previously announced that the three were being unjustly detained.
Sources said that the Iranian assets worth $6 billion in South Korea will be unfrozen and placed in an account at the Qatar Central Bank. New York times. It will come under the control of the government of Qatar and can only be accessed by Iran to pay for humanitarian items such as food and medicine.
The Biden administration acknowledged the move by the Iranians in a statement from National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson.
“We have received confirmation that Iran has released five Americans who were unjustly detained and placed them under house arrest,” she said.
While this is an encouraging step, these US citizens — Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Imad Chergui, two Americans who wish to remain private at this time — should not have been detained in the first place.
We will continue to monitor their condition as closely as possible. Of course, we will not rest until they are all back home in the United States. Until then, negotiations for their eventual release are ongoing and delicate. Therefore, we will have few details to provide regarding their house arrest situation or our efforts to secure their freedom.”
The development was also welcomed by Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council.
“This is good news, and we hope that this is just the first step, and that these Iranian-Americans who are being unjustly detained will be free to go home and meet their loved ones very soon,” he said in a statement.
It is hard to imagine the pain and irreversible loss. We are encouraged by the Biden administration’s prioritization of this matter and continued diplomatic efforts with regional interlocutors to secure their release.
“It is impossible to make up for the time that was stolen from them, but we hope that this leave will be an irreversible step towards their full freedom and that all prisoners of conscience held in Iran will be released one day.”
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