19th September, 2023
Five Americans freed from detention in Iran have arrived the US after $6 billion Iranian funds were unfrozen by the US government.
Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz and Siamak Namazi and two others arrived US’ soil early Tuesday morning, according to the CNN.
The plane conveying the Americans had initially stopped at Doha, Qatar.
The Americans, who had been designated by the US as wrongfully detained, were freed as part of a wider deal that included the US unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian funds. The agreement also involved the release of five Iranians in US custody.
Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, and Siamak Namazi had been imprisoned for more than five years. The identities of the other two Americans are not publicly known, according to CNN.
After the release, the US imposed sanctions on Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the lack of information about Bob Levinson, an American detained for more than a decade who is believed to have died in Iran.
Under the deal that got the five Americans released, $6 billion in Iranian funds that had been held in restricted accounts in South Korea were transferred to restricted accounts in banks in Qatar.
The funds came from oil sales that were allowed and placed into accounts set up under the Trump administration, sources told CNN.
Biden administration officials have stressed that the funds can be used by Iran only for humanitarian purchases and that each transaction will be monitored by the US Treasury Department.
The agreement also involved the release of five Iranians in US custody. Two of the five Iranians had served a majority of their sentences; the other three were awaiting trial and had not yet been convicted.
According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, two of the Iranians were returning to Iran, one was expected to leave for another country, and the other two were expected to remain in the US. Those who are remaining in the US do not pose a national security risk, CNN quoted US officials as saying.