Five Americans left Tehran on Monday as part of a $6 billion deal with the US
Members of the media wait at a terminal for a jet carrying five US citizens at the Doha International Airport in Doha, Qatar, September 18, 2023 © AFP / Karim Jaafar
Authorities in Iran have released five American prisoners who are now en route to the US via Qatar, American officials told multiple media outlets on Monday. The US in turn set five jailed Iranians free and released $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
The prisoner exchange is the result of months of back-channel negotiations between Washington and Tehran, with the final agreement sweetened by the US instructing banks in Qatar and South Korea to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue.
US officials told the New York Times that the five Americans took off on a jet from Tehran on Monday morning. After arriving in Doha, they will be handed over to US authorities and flown back to Washington.
The five Americans included Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz, who had been sentenced to ten years in prison on espionage charges. The other two detainees wished to remain anonymous, US officials said. Namazi, a 51-year-old businessman, was arrested in 2015 and excluded from prisoner swaps under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s administrations. Shargi and Tahbaz were both arrested in 2018.