5 Americans freed from Iranian detention are now back in the US!
Five Americans freed from Iranian detention returned to the US early Tuesday morning following an initial stop in Doha, Qatar, according to two US officials.
Upon arriving in the Washington, DC, area, they were reunited with their families.
The five American nationals were freed as part of a wider deal that includes the US unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian funds.
Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, and Siamak Namazi, the three of those who were part of the deal, had been imprisoned for more than five years.
Namazi had been detained since 2015.
The identities of the other two Americans freed as a result of the deal are not publicly known.
US President Joe Biden’s locked deal with Iran to unfreeze $6 billion in Tehran’s funds to bring five imprisoned Americans home.
As reported, the deal followed a carefully choreographed exchange, agreed upon after months of Qatar-mediated talks, that was triggered on Monday.
Under the deal, $6 billion in Iranian funds that had been held in restricted accounts in South Korea were transferred to restricted accounts in banks in Qatar.
The funds that had been blocked in South Korea were wired, via Switzerland, to banks in Doha.
The funds came from oil sales that were allowed and placed into accounts set up under the Trump administration, reported CNN.
After the confirmation of money, the five US prisoners plus two relatives took off on a Qatari plane from Tehran, at the same time as two of the five Iranian detainees landed in Doha on their way home.
Reportedly, three Iranians chose not to go to Iran.
President Joe Biden celebrated the release of the five Americans terming it “enduring years of agony, uncertainty, and suffering,” in a statement.
President Biden also thanked “partners at home and abroad for their tireless efforts to help us achieve this outcome, including the Governments of Qatar, Oman, Switzerland, and South Korea.”
However, senior Republican Party officials criticized the agreement. Former Vice President Mike Pence — under whose tenure the White House made two prisoner swap deals with Tehran — criticized Biden for allowing Iran to “foment terrorism across the Middle East.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the administration of “incentivizing Tehran’s bad behavior.”