A high-stakes, intricate diplomatic agreement involving the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Biden administration that included the transfer of $6 billion in unfrozen Iranian oil assets and the release of five Iranians charged with crimes in the United States resulted in the release of five American citizens who had been detained by Iran on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, a jet transporting the Americans landed in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, which is close to Washington, D.C.
Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, and Morad Tahbaz are three American prisoners who were each given a 10-year prison term for unproven charges of spying.
The arrangement includes two Americans, including a former U.N. worker who, according to American officials, desired to maintain his anonymity.
Just before 11 a.m., a plane carrying American citizens from Tehran touched down in Doha, Qatar. on Monday, ET. They were moved into American custody before boarding the flight to the Washington, D.C. area. US officials traveled with them on the aircraft.
Former detainees were met in Doha by Special Presidential Envoy Roger Carstens and Deputy Special Envoy for Iran Abram Paley.
On the tarmac at Fort Belvoir, groups of friends and family members greeted each freed American while carrying miniature American flags.
As they were reunited, smiles, kisses, and cozy embraces helped ward off the frigid morning air. The revelry continued inside when the group moved there for 15 minutes.
Following their arrival in Doha, President Biden and national security adviser Jake Sullivan made a brief phone call to the relatives of the detainees, according to Shargi’s family. It was referred to by the White House as an emotional call.
US and Iran Swap Prisoners, Ending Months of Captivity
The Americans were anticipated to be given U.S. government telephones so they could call their loved ones and tell them they were free before they arrived, according to sources familiar with the plans.
The Americans will have the choice to go through a support process at a military hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, in order to get ready for their return to civilian life after being held captive.
Senior administration officials withheld information on the Americans’ health prior to the swap, but they did note that the Swiss reported that the Iranians complied with the agreed-upon living arrangements for their house arrest.
By confirming to State Department representatives that the Americans were on board the airplane, Olivier served as the Biden administration’s eyes and ears on the ground.
Despite the trade, there is a lot of mistrust between Washington and Tehran. As an inducement for Tehran to carry out the swap, the Biden administration agreed to assist Iran in gaining access to $6 billion in Iranian oil assets that had been kept in a restricted account in South Korea.
Although administration officials highlighted that they were all charged with non-violent offenses, the United States has not authenticated the identities of the Iranians who were released. Additionally, according to officials, the two convicted Iranians’ prison terms are almost up.
However, the exchange puts an end to a protracted ordeal for the families of the previously detained Americans.
It is also expected to rekindle the political discussion about whether the previously disclosed trade benefits the Iranian government, which is subject to harsh sanctions, and whether this in turn encourages additional hostage-taking.
Source: CBS News