Five Iranians imprisoned in U.S. freed

TEHRAN – Five Iranians who had spent years in U.S. jails were released on Monday in a prisoner swap between Tehran and Washington mediated by Qatar.

Two of the freed prisoners were flown to Doha, Qatar, and then to Tehran.

“After a successful team effort, five innocent Iranian compatriots in American prisons will be free today and two of them will enter Tehran via Doha,” Kazem Gharibabadi, secretary general of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, wrote on his X account on Monday.

“The High Council for Human Rights, alongside the government and the judiciary, will remain determined to uphold the rights of Iranians abroad,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani stated that two of the inmates will be returned to Iran, one will join his family in a third country, and two will remain in the United States.

The process of implementing an agreement with the U.S. on the release of Iran’s assets as well as a prisoner swap has progressed at a favorable pace, said the spokesman.

Mehrdad Moein Ansari, Kambiz Attar Kashani, Reza Sarhangpour Kofrani, Amin Hassanzadeh, and Kaveh Lotfollah Afrasiabi are the names of the five Iranian detainees.

They had been unjustly detained in American jails under the guise of breaking U.S. sanctions.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said the five Iranian prisoners are being released by the U.S. in exchange for five American prisoners.

The five Americans, who also hold Iranian passports, boarded a chartered flight to the Qatari capital Doha. From there, they will be flown to Washington.

The deal comes after months of indirect talks mediated by Qatar, which began in February last year.

The Islamic Republic has stressed that the exchange of detainees is entirely humanitarian.

Back in August, the United States and Iran agreed to liberate five American prisoners in exchange for the detention of a number of Iranians held in the U.S. and access to around $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues in South Korea.

As a first step in the prisoner swap, the Americans were moved in mid-August from the Evin prison to a safe house in Tehran.

The Iranian-American prisoners are Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, who had been jailed on charges of spying, as well as two others whose families withheld their names.

“This is just the beginning of a process that I hope and expect will lead to their return home to the United States,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

It is worth noting that the U.S. is to blame for all moratoriums made in such talks because it had illogically and futilely resisted all legitimate demands by Iran. The American officials thought they had the upper hand in the talks and gave the cold shoulder to any proposals.

Iran has always been keen on any kind of negotiations but the U.S. officials tend to comport themselves in a way that they are always right! But on the contrary, they showed no sign of logical behavior.

Such a deal can be contemplated as a victory for the administration of President Ebrahim Raisi who called it “honorable diplomacy.”

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