Iran, US to swap prisoners after $6B in Tehran assets unfrozen

Tehran, Sep 18 (EFE).- Iran and the United States will exchange five prisoners from each country on Monday once the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds to Qatar has been completed, the Iranian Government reported.

“The prisoner exchange will take place on the same day and five Iranian citizens imprisoned in America will be released,” said the spokesperson for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani.

The diplomat added that two of the Iranian citizens will return to Iran, another two will remain in the United States and the fifth will travel to a third country.

According to local media, the US prisoners to be released are Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz and two other unidentified people. They will be transported to Qatar in the early afternoon.

The prisoner exchange will take place after the transfer of $6 billion belonging to Tehran and blocked in South Korea has been completed as part of the agreement that Tehran and Washington reached in early August.

The United States approved a waiver for the release of funds from debts incurred by Seoul for the purchase of gas from Iran and the money has been transferred to several accounts in Qatar.

The US said that Iran will not have “direct” access to the money, which could only be used “strictly for humanitarian purposes”.

Hours before the announcement of the prisoners swap, the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, traveled to New York to address the UN Assembly, where he is expected to give a press conference, according to Iranian media.

Iran has been accused of using dual national and foreign prisoners as a pressure tactic for prisoner exchanges with other states, a practice described as “hostage diplomacy” by other countries and human rights organizations.EFE


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