HomeBusinessUS, Iran swap prisoners in deal involving $6 billion switch By Reuters...

US, Iran swap prisoners in deal involving $6 billion switch By Reuters | The Global Today

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Iranian and U.S. flags are seen printed on paper on this illustration taken January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photograph

By Andrew Mills, Humeyra Pamuk and Parisa Hafezi

DOHA/NEW YORK (Reuters) -5 U.S. residents left Iran and landed in Doha on Monday in a prisoner swap for 5 Iranians held in america and the switch of $6 billion in Iranian funds, marking a uncommon second of cooperation between the long-time antagonists.

“Immediately, 5 harmless Individuals who have been imprisoned in Iran are lastly coming dwelling,” U.S. President Joe Biden stated in an announcement shortly earlier than the U.S. detainees descended the steps of a Qatari jet to be embraced by U.S. diplomats.

Individually, Iran’s Press TV stated the 5 Iranians held by america and charged with committing crimes had been freed, an obvious reference to their being granted clemency. Two arrived in Doha, U.S. and Iranian officers stated.

“This was purely a humanitarian motion,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stated after arriving in New York for the annual U.N. Common Meeting. “It might probably actually be a step based mostly upon which sooner or later different humanitarian actions might be taken.”

It was unclear whether or not the alternate would possibly carry progress on the various points that divide the 2 nations, together with Iran’s nuclear program, its help for regional Shi’ite militias, the presence of U.S. troops within the Gulf and U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Relations between america and Iran, adversaries for greater than 40 years, have been particularly bitter since former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 reneged on a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed U.S. sanctions.

Washington suspects this system might goal to develop nuclear weapons – an ambition Tehran denies – that would threaten Israel or U.S. Gulf Arab allies.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken left the door open to diplomacy on the nuclear file, which he described as “maybe the primary challenge of concern,” however steered nothing was imminent.

“On this second, we’re not engaged on that, however we’ll see sooner or later if there are alternatives,” he informed reporters in New York.

U.S. analysts voiced skepticism that progress was seemingly quickly on the nuclear or different points.

“The prisoner swap does seemingly pave the best way for added diplomacy across the nuclear program this fall, though the prospect for truly reaching a deal could be very distant,” stated Henry Rome of the Washington Institute for Close to East Coverage.

“Eradicating an irritant is totally different from including a salve,” stated Jon Alterman of the Heart of Strategic and Worldwide Research.

In an indication Biden, a Democrat, needs to seem robust on Iran and maybe blunt Republican criticism, he introduced recent U.S. sanctions on Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and its intelligence ministry for “involvement in wrongful detentions.”

“We are going to proceed to impose prices on Iran for his or her provocative actions within the area,” he stated within the assertion, through which he thanked the governments of Qatar, Oman, Switzerland and South Korea for his or her help in securing the releases.

Qatar mediated oblique U.S.-Iran talks on the prisoners whereas Switzerland, which represents U.S. pursuits in Tehran as a result of america and Iran don’t diplomatic relations, helped with the switch of funds from South Korea to Qatar.

A airplane despatched Qatar flew the 5 U.S. residents and two of their family out of Tehran after each side received affirmation the $6 billion was transferred from South Korea to Qatari accounts, a supply briefed on the matter informed Reuters.

A outstanding Republican, Home Overseas Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, stated the switch of the $6 billion would seemingly result in extra detentions of U.S. residents by Iran.

“I’m very involved that this $6 billion hostage deal incentivises future hostage-taking,” McCaul stated in an emailed assertion. “There isn’t any query this deal will release funds for Iran’s malign actions.”

Biden aides argue the cash belongs to Iran and is being transferred from restricted South Korean accounts to restricted Qatari accounts, the place it could actually solely be spent on meals, drugs and different humanitarian objects with U.S. oversight.

Earlier, two of the 5 Iranians landed in Qatar, a U.S. official stated. Three have opted to not return to Iran.

The 5 Iranian Individuals – one among whom had been held for about eight years on fees america had rejected as baseless – have been attributable to board a U.S. authorities plane in Doha after which fly dwelling to america.

The deal, after months of talks in Qatar, removes a significant irritant between the U.S., which manufacturers Tehran a sponsor of terrorism, and Iran, which calls Washington the “Nice Devil”.

The U.S. twin residents launched embrace Siamak Namazi, 51, and Emad Sharqi, 59, each businessmen, and Morad Tahbaz, 67, an environmentalist who additionally holds British nationality.

The identities of the fourth and fifth U.S. residents weren’t disclosed at their request given their need for privateness.

Iranian officers have named the 5 Iranians launched by the U.S. as Mehrdad Moin-Ansari, Kambiz Attar-Kashani, Reza Sarhangpour-Kafrani, Amin Hassanzadeh and Kaveh Afrasiabi.

Iranian media recognized the 2 males who landed at Doha as Moin-Ansari and Sarhangpour-Kafrani.

#Iran #swap #prisoners #deal #involving #billion #switch #Reuters



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