Iran has released five American citizens as part of a prisoner exchange, and in return Washington pardoned five Iranians detained in the United States. The way to the exchange was made possible by an agreement on the release of frozen Iranian assets in South Korea.
Five American citizens who are Iran released as part of a prisoner exchange, flew to the Qatari capital Doha. Earlier, Tehran regained access to funds worth about 5.6 billion euros, which had been frozen by US ally South Korea due to international sanctions.
Two family members of those detained in Iran were also on board the Qatari plane that left Tehran. In exchange for their release, US President Joe Biden pardoned five Iranians who had been convicted or charged “non-violent crimes”.
According to Iranian media reports, two of the released Iranians have already arrived in Doha. The remaining three decided to stay in the United States or a third country, Tehran’s statement was summarized by the French news agency AFP.
“We hope Yes we will have full access to Iranian assets today,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser said earlier at a press conference in Tehran Canaanites. The funds are said to be transferred to the accounts of two banks in Qatar, with which they are said to enable Iran to purchase goods for humanitarian purposes, to which sanctions do not apply.
Upon the release of the prisoners, Biden simultaneously announced sanctions against former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. The agreement on the exchange of prisoners was reached with the intervention of the Gulf countries, as Iran and the US do not have diplomatic relations. According to the White House, Oman and Qatar played an important role in this.
Republican critics of Biden
It was already known for several weeks that Yes se USA and Iran they agree on an exchange of prisoners. In August, Iranian justice released five US citizens from custody and placed them under house arrest. The most famous of these is a businessman Siamese Namazi, who holds American and Iranian citizenship. In 2015, he was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison for espionage. The other two were environmentalists Must Tahbaz and businessman Emad Šarki and two others who did not want to be named.
Republicans and some former Iranian political prisoners have criticized the US president, Yes concluded an agreement with Iran, as they warn Yes this will only encourage Tehran to carry out more kidnappings. But the US State Department emphasized, Yes are the funds that will be freed up under the deal, Iran’s oil money, which Trump administration frozen in 2018 when the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.
The said money is Iran made money by selling oil to South Korea, and because of the prisoner exchange deal, the South Korean bank had already transferred those funds to Qatar, which was the broker in the deal.
At the same time, Qatar assured Yes said money will be spent in Iran only on food, agricultural products and medicine, that is, on goods that are not subject to international sanctions. Critics say Yes it will be impossible to control.