US reaches deal to free detained Americans in Iran – media

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According to reports, Washington and Tehran have agreed on a prisoner swap in which five incarcerated Americans will be released and the US will unfreeze approximately $6 billion in Iranian assets.

According to numerous media sites on Thursday, citing people close with the negotiations, the tentative accord also includes the release of five Iranians detained in US jails. President Joe Biden has approved the agreement. According to sources, it will not be considered final until the five Americans return to US land, which may take weeks.

The White House confirmed in a statement on Thursday that four of the five Americans had been released from Tehran’s Evin Prison and were being held under house detention. The other American citizen was already detained.

“We will continue to monitor their condition as closely as possible,” US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in the statement. “Of course, we will not rest until they are all back home in the United States.” She added that the negotiations are “delicate” and remain ongoing. “We will therefore have little in the way of details to provide about the state of their house arrest or about our efforts to secure their freedom.”

Namazi, Tahbaz, and Shargi were all charged with spying. US officials have refuted the charges and said that they should not have been jailed in the first place. Namazi was caught in 2015, while Tahbaz and Shargi were arrested in 2018. Namazi, now 51, was left out of a 2016 prisoner swap connected to the Iran nuclear deal and has publicly urged Biden to negotiate his release.

Because of US sanctions, the $6 billion in Iranian cash included in the recent agreement are presently stored in a restricted South Korean account. If the agreement is finalized, the funds will be moved to another country, presumably Qatar, and made accessible to Iran subject to certain conditions. US officials are attempting to limit the money’s use.

The deal appears to be devoid of any terms pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program. In 2018, the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Biden promised to resuscitate and strengthen the JCPOA during his 2020 presidential campaign, but he has yet to do so after taking office in January 2021.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have risen since then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018. Both sides are increasing their military capabilities in the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most vital oil supply chokepoint.