5 detained Americans freed from Iran land in Qatar | Albiseyler


Five American citizens freed under the US-Iran deal were flown out of the country on Monday and landed in Doha, Qatar.

They will be flown back to the US later on Monday

Among the repatriated Americans are Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz, and two others who asked that their identities not be released. All five were labeled as wrongfully detained by the US government.

Released American prisoners board a plane from Tehran, Iran to Doha, Qatar on September 18, 2023.

WANA/Pool via Reuters

Tahbaz’s wife Vida and Namazi’s mother Effie were also allowed to leave Iran, according to the US official. Unlike the other five, they were not imprisoned by the Iranian regime, but were previously banned from leaving the country.

President Joe Biden said in a statement: “Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home.”

“Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Sharghi and two citizens who wish to remain private will soon be reunited with their loved ones – after years of suffering, uncertainty and suffering,” he said. “I am grateful to our partners at home and abroad for their tireless efforts to help us achieve this result, including the governments of Qatar, Oman, Switzerland and South Korea.

“A special thank you to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad and Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, who both helped facilitate this agreement over many months of difficult and principled American diplomacy,” he said.

Iran’s foreign ministry first announced the immediate release of the American citizens early Monday morning, fulfilling a deal struck last month between Washington and Tehran in which the US promised to pardon five Iranians and facilitate Iran’s access to about $6 billion in frozen oil. income under the condition that the money will be spent on humanitarian purposes.

PHOTO: Mehrdad Moein Ansari, left, and Reza Sarhangpour, two Iranian nationals who were detained in the United States and released under a prisoner swap deal with Iran, pose for a photo at Doha International Airport on Sept. 18, 2023, in Doha.

Mehrdad Moein Ansari, left, and Reza Sarhangpour, two Iranian nationals who were detained in the United States and released under a prisoner exchange deal with Iran, pose for a photo at Doha International Airport on September 18, 2023, in Doha.

Nournews Agency via AFP/Getty Images

The seven will be flown to Doha by Qatari aircraft. U.S. officials say they plan to travel “as quickly as possible” to the Washington, D.C., area where they will be reunited with their families and the Department of Defense will be ready to assist families “who may request assistance. their recovery and integration into normal life.’

Five Iranians involved in the trade were charged or convicted of non-violent crimes. The two do not have legal residency in the US and will be transported by the US Marshals Service to Doha and then travel to Iran.

Two others are lawful permanent residents of the US and one has dual Iranian-American citizenship. Administration officials have not said whether the U.S. will remain

PHOTO: The breakdown from left to right shows photos of Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz and Siamak Namazi

The breakdown from left to right shows photos by Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz and Siamak Namazi


All five detained Americans served time in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, but were placed under house arrest after Tehran and Washington reached an agreement in principle.

Namazi, 51, is an oil executive and Iranian-American dual nationalist. He was first detained in 2015 and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of “collaborating with an enemy government” for his ties to the United States.

Shargi, a 58-year-old businessman, was detained without explanation in 2018 and released in 2019 before being arrested again in 2020 and handed a 10-year sentence for espionage.

Tahbaz, 67, is an Iranian-American conservationist who also holds British citizenship. In 2018, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed a blanket waiver of U.S. sanctions, paving the way for international banks to allow the transfer of roughly $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue in exchange for Iran’s release of five detained U.S. citizens.

The $6 billion comes from a restricted account in South Korea, where it was effectively frozen when the US reimposed sanctions on Tehran after former President Donald Trump left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program, and will be transferred to Qatar. with restrictions on how Iran can spend the funds.

Iran expects to begin receiving its frozen assets on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said, adding that an “active foreign policy” led to the unblocking of the funds.

“Today this asset will be delivered,” Kanaani said. “Investment will be made where it is needed.”

Republicans blasted the planned exchange in the days after it was first announced.

“The Americans held by Iran are innocent hostages who must be released immediately and unconditionally. However, I remain deeply troubled by the administration’s decision to waive sanctions to facilitate the transfer of $6 billion in funds to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” he said. . creates a direct incentive for America’s adversaries to take hostages in the future,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul said in a statement.

But National Security Council coordinator John Kirby insisted at a press briefing Wednesday that “Iran will not get any sanctions relief.”

“It’s Iranian money that was based in these accounts to allow some trade from abroad in things like Iranian oil. … It’s not a blank check. They can’t spend it however they want. It’s not the whole $6 billion. ” They will only have to apply for a humanitarian withdrawal,” he said, adding that there would be “sufficient oversight to ensure that the application is valid.”

According to Kirby, the recipient of the funds will be the Iranian people, not the regime.

Pressed on why the $6 billion needed to be released in addition to the five Iranian prisoners, Kirby said, “This is a deal we were able to make to secure the release of five Americans.”

“We’re happy with the parameters of this deal. I’ve heard critics that somehow they’re going to get a better end. Ask the families of the five Americans who got a better end, and I think you’d get a different answer,” he said.

When asked about Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s claim that money is “fungible”, Kirby replied: “He’s wrong.

Kirby said the funds in the deal were “not a payment of any kind” and “not a ransom” to secure the release of the Americans, responding to Republican complaints.

“As chairman of the (Republican Study Committee), we will use all legislative options to reverse this deal and prevent further ransom payments and sanctions relief against Iran,” Rep. Kevin Hern said on Twitter Tuesday.

Kanaani, the Iranian spokesman, said only two of the Iranians expected to be released from US prisons were willing to return to Iran.

“Two of the (Iranian) citizens will voluntarily return to Iran, one person will join his family in a third country, and the other two citizens want to stay in America,” Kanaani said.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.

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