DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has agreed with Washington to free five U.S. citizens in exchange for the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets in South Korea to banks in Qatar and the release of a similar number of Iranians held in the United States.
Following are the prisoners in Iran who will be released under the deal:
Siamak Namazi, 51, a businessman with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, was detained in 2015 by the Revolutionary Guards while visiting his family in Tehran. Months later his ailing father, Baquer, was detained after returning to Iran to visit his jailed son. They were both sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison for allegedly spying and cooperating with the U.S. government.
A former Iranian provincial governor and former UNICEF official who also has dual citizenship, Baquer Namazi was put under house arrest in 2018 on medical grounds and left Iran in 2022 for medical treatment.
In 2017 Sharghi and his wife moved to Iran from the United States. The Iranian-American businessman, 59, was first arrested in 2018 when working for Saravan Holding, a tech investment company. He was released on bail after eight months and a Revolutionary Court cleared him of spying and security-related charges, but his travel ban remained.
On Nov. 2020 he was summoned by another Revolutionary Court which sentenced him to 10 years in jail on charges of espionage. He was not initially imprisoned but Iranian media reported he was arrested as he tried to flee Iran in Jan. 2021.
An Iranian-American environmentalist, 67, who also holds British citizenship, Tahbaz was detained in 2018. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 for "assembly and collusion against Iran's national security" and "contacts with U.S. enemy government … for the purpose of spying”.
The fourth and fifth prisoners were not identified. It is not clear how many U.S. citizens are detained in Iran, since families and the U.S. government often do not wish to publicize the cases in the hope of quietly securing their release.
IRANIAN PRISONERS IN THE U.S.
The identities of the Iranians held in the United States who will fly home under the agreement remain undisclosed.
For years, Iran has demanded the release of Iranians detained in the United States. There are at least 12 Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. mainly for "breaching the U.S. sanctions on Iran", one Iranian judiciary source told Reuters.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Samia Nakhoul)