Wed, 06 Dec 2023

Iran Says Prisoner Swap with US Expected Monday

Voice of America
18 Sep 2023, 18:36 GMT+10

Iran said it expects a prisoner swap with the United States and the unlocking of $6 billion in Iranian funds to take place Monday.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said during a news conference that Iran expected the funds, which were frozen under U.S. sanctions and are to be used only for humanitarian purposes, to be transferred from accounts in South Korea to accounts in Qatar.

The release of the 10 people involved in the agreement would follow.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told VOA last week that the Biden administration hoped the transfer would happen "in the coming days."

Three of the Americans in the swap have been publicly identified: Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz. They along with one of the unnamed Americans were moved from Tehran's Evin prison to house arrest, while an American woman also set to be a part of the deal was already under house arrest.

Iran has identified five Iranian nationals it wants to see released under the deal.

Iran's U.N. mission in New York confirmed to VOA the Iranian list includes Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, Mehrdad Ansari, Amin Hasanzadeh, Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani and Kambiz Attar Kashani.

Ansari and Kashani are serving federal prison sentences, while Afrasiabi, Hasanzadeh and Kafrani are on supervised pre-trial release.

The agreement also included the United States allowing certain Iranian funds frozen under U.S. sanctions to be transferred from accounts in South Korea to accounts in Qatar.

The Iranian funds transferred to Qatar are designated for use only for humanitarian purposes. The Biden administration has rejected criticism that Iran will be able to use the money for other purposes, with U.S. officials saying there will be oversight to ensure withdrawals are designated for approved transactions.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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