Five Americans and two Iranians arrive in Qatar for prisoner swap

Doha, Sept 18 (EFE) – Five American citizens and two Iranians arrived at Doha International Airport on Monday as part of a prisoner exchange between Washington and Tehran brokered by Qatar.

The agreement was reached after the unfreezing of 5.8 billion dollars (5.5 billion euros) in funds belonging to Iran.

The five prisoners released by Tehran are Siamak Namazi, imprisoned since 2015 and sentenced to 10 years for espionage; Emad Shargi, also sentenced for alleged espionage; and Morad Tahbaz, who was also serving a 10-years for maintaining contacts with the United States government.

The identities of the other two Americans have not been released, while the two Iranians who arrived in Doha are Mehrdad Moin Ansari and Reza Sarhangpour.

Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abderrahman Al Thani, hoped on X (formerly Twitter) that the prisoner exchange “paves the way for more understanding” between Tehran and Washington, and assured that his country “will continue to contribute to improving security in the region and the world.”

Al Jazeera footage showed the Qatar Airways plane landing at Doha’s international airport, where the Americans, Namazi, Shargi and Tahbaz, disembarked and embraced US Ambassador to Qatar Timmy T. Davis.

The other two American citizens were not identified, and television stations present at the facility cut off their broadcasts at the request of the US State Department to protect the identities of the newly released.

After leaving the plane, the five men went to a room in the terminal for medical and security checks, according to Al Jazeera.

The two Iranians arrived in Doha a few hours before the Americans and are preparing to travel to Tehran.

Three other Iranian citizens were also freed – Kambiz Attar Kashani, Amin Hassanzadeh and Kaveh Lotfollah Afrasiabi – but did not arrive in Doha, as two of them will remain on US territory and the third will travel to a third country that has not been disclosed.

The exchange comes after about $ 6 billion in funds belonging to Iran were deposited on Monday in six Iranian accounts in two banks in Qatar, which is acting as a mediator between the two rivals.

The mediation of the Arab country and the Sultanate of Oman has been essential during this negotiation process, which has ended after eight rounds of indirect talks in the last two years. EFE hu-cgs/mcd

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