A prisoner exchange with the US takes place today

A prisoner exchange with the US takes place today
A cell in Iran’s Evin prison

NOS news

Iran says a long-awaited prisoner exchange with the US will take place today. According to a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the release money – a key element of the prisoner exchange with the US – is in Qatar.

Qatar confirms to Reuters that the money is in Doha, paving the way for a prisoner exchange between Iran and the US. Both countries released five prisoners. In Iran, five prisoners with dual American and Iranian citizenship are held in the infamous Evin prison in Tehran.

humanitarian objectives

US Freezes About $6 Billion in Iranian Bank Assets Money plays an important role in prisoner exchanges between the US and Iran. Last Tuesday, the US said it had cleared the way for the exchange by lifting the embargo. The money was in bank accounts held by Iran in South Korea, but is now in Qatar.

This money can only be used for humanitarian purposes. According to Americans, there are sufficient guarantees that the money will not be spent otherwise. Money will go to Iran only if the prisoner exchange is finalised.

The US does not have diplomatic relations with Iran. Iran says it is a “third country”. Qatar, Oman and Switzerland are involved in the talks, according to a CNN source.

Who are the prisoners?

Official documents on the identities of the prisoners have not been released, but both CNN and the BBC are reporting on them. According to the BBC, three of the five prisoners in Iran are Siamak Namasi (51), Emad Sharqi (58) and Morad Tahbas (67).

Namasi was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards in 2015, and he and his father were sentenced to 10 years in prison for “collaborating with the enemy state”. Businessman Sharkey was arrested in 2018 on charges of espionage. He was initially released, but Iranian authorities refused to return his passport.

Tahbas, a 67-year-old security guard, was arrested in Iran in January 2018 during a crackdown on environmental activists. He is accused of collecting classified information on strategic areas of Iran.

Morad Tahbas (left) is one of the British Iranians imprisoned in Iran, pictured here with his daughter.

Gave Lodfola Afrasiabi is expected to be one of four Iranians freed by the US: he was arrested in 2021 on charges of “acting as an unregistered Iranian government agent and conspiring”.

Additionally, Mehrdad Moein Asnari and Amin Hasanzadeh were mentioned, both of whom are said to have links to the Iranian security forces. Finally, Reza Sarhangpour-Kafrani and Kambis Atar Kashani were charged with violating US sanctions against Tehran.

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