Five Iranian prisoners sought by the US were set free on Monday and headed home as part of a deal with Iran, which set free another five American-Iranian prisoners held in Tehran. Also, $6 billion in assets held in South Korea were unfrozen and transferred to Qatar, according to the Associated Press.
The swap took place after international banks transferred almost $6 billion in frozen Iranian money from South Korea to Qatar, where Iran will be able to use it for Humanitarian purposes.
“Fortunately Iran’s frozen assets in South Korea were released and God willing today the assets will start to be fully controlled by the government and the nation,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.
A plane carrying the prisoners from Tehran landed in Doha, Qatar, where they met the US ambassador to Qatar, Timmy Davis.
“Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home,” US President Joe Biden said.
The group of prisoners include Siamak Namazi, detained in 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on spying charges; Emad Sharghi, a venture capitalist; and Morad Tahbaz, a British-American conservationist of Iranian descent. U.S officials declined to identify the two other released prisoners.
“I would not be free today, if it wasn’t for all of you who didn’t allow the world to forget me,” Namazi said.
Despite the swap, tensions remain between the US and Iran, mainly because of Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran insists that the program is peaceful but the UN’s nuclear watchdog has warned that Iran has enriched uranium to produce nuclear weapons