Iran Releases 5 US Citizens in Swap, Fund Deal

Iran may free five detained U.S. citizens as part of a deal under which $6 billion in Iranian funds in South Korea would be unfrozen, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, and top U.S. diplomat Antony Blinken described a process that he expects will lead to their return to the United States. (Reuters)

Sadaf Yarmal
11 Aug 2023
Iran Releases 5 US Citizens in Swap, Fund Deal

The United States would release some Iranians from U.S. prisons as part of the deal, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said.

White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson confirmed that the five were all out of prison and under house arrest, saying they should never have been detained and the White House would have little more to add because talks for their eventual release “remain ongoing and are delicate.”

Blinken said the U.S. State Department on Thursday spoke to the five Americans. “They’re, needless to say, very happy to be out of prison.”


Iran’s mission to the United Nations said in a statement: “As part of a humanitarian cooperation agreement mediated by a third-party government, Iran and the US have agreed to reciprocally release and pardon five prisoners. The transfer of these prisoners to out of prison marks a significant initial step in the implementation of this agreement.”

Iranian Americans, whose U.S. citizenship is not recognized by Tehran, are often pawns between the two nations.

The five Americans will be allowed to leave Iran after $6 billion of Iranian funds in South Korea are unfrozen, a source told Reuters.

Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said the funds were first to be converted from South Korean currency into Euros and then sent to an account in Qatar that Iran could access.

Rome described the potential release of the five as a step forward “in the broader U.S. efforts to de-escalate tensions in the absence of a nuclear agreement” adding that the White House “wouldn’t have gone through with the deal if it wasn’t confident it could withstand whatever political blowback is forthcoming.”

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