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Five US detainees released from Iran in exchange deal

Five Americans held for years in Iran are heading home after a high-risk swap facilitated by Qatar. The statement came after $6 billion of Iranian funds, kept in South Korea, were transferred to banks in Doha.

Among those released are businessman Siamak Namazi, imprisoned for almost eight years in Tehran’s Evin prison, Emad Shargi, another businessman, and environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, who is also a British national. The US has often criticized these arrests as politically motivated.

To balance this release, five Iranians imprisoned in the US, mainly for sanctions violations, are being granted clemency. Not all are expected to return to Iran.

Upon the Americans’ arrival in Doha, President Joe Biden expressed his relief and emphasized his lingering anguish. At the same time, he announced new sanctions targeting former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s intelligence ministry for their alleged role in wrongful imprisonments.

Namazi, one of those released, expressed heartfelt thanks to all those who defended his freedom and praised President Biden for putting American life above political nuances.

This complex agreement followed extensive indirect discussions mediated by Qatar since February last year, which involved numerous trips between Tehran and Washington by Qatari officials.

Despite the relief surrounding this deal, it has received criticism. Some US Republicans see it as a possible bailout or sanctions relief, expressing concern about the end use of the funds. However, sources have affirmed the strict control and directed use of these funds exclusively for humanitarian purposes.

The situation calls attention to Iran’s alleged history of exploiting dual nationality against Western nations. With other dual nationals still imprisoned in Tehran, concerns persist about Iran’s continued strategy of hostage diplomacy.

There are high hopes that these collaborative efforts can help address other long-standing diplomatic issues, such as the 2015 nuclear deal.

This article is sourced from and written by AI.

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