Iran Releases Five American Citizens in Prisoner Exchange Deal

The White House Confirms Release of American Prisoners by Iran

The White House confirmed that Iranian authorities on Monday released five American citizens as part of a prisoner exchange deal and they are now leaving Iran by plane.

Relief and Return

John Kirby, White House strategic communications coordinator, said: “They (the American citizens) are not in custody in Iran right now, they are on the plane. We don’t know how they are doing yet. I can only imagine they are very relieved.” He added that within about an hour, the freed Americans will temporarily land outside Iran’s borders before returning home.

Prisoner Exchange Deal

As part of the swap deal, the United States will release five Iranians and unfreeze $6 billion for humanitarian purposes.

No Change in Hostile Relationship

For his part, a senior US administration official told Reuters that the prisoner exchange agreement, which resulted in the release of five Americans detained in Iran on Monday, would not change the hostile relationship between Washington and Tehran, but the door was still open to diplomacy to resolve the issue of the Iranian nuclear program.

Negotiations and Agreement

After months of negotiations brokered by Qatar, the United States and Iran reached an agreement in which Tehran released five detainees with dual American and Iranian citizenship in exchange for five Iranians held by the United States.

Prisoner Exchange Agreement and Oil Revenues

On August 10, Iran and the United States reached a prisoner exchange agreement in which they each released five prisoners and also allowed Iran to access $6 billion of its oil revenues that had been frozen in South Korea.

Transfer of Funds for Humanitarian Purposes

Under the agreement, South Korean banks that housed Iranian funds are allowed to transfer them to Qatar under the supervision of the Qatari central bank, provided that Iran is not allowed to use them for anything other than humanitarian purposes, according to the US agreement sanctions regime.

License Issued by US Government

The US government notified Congress last Monday that it had issued a license to international banks allowing it to transfer $6 billion to Qatar without any US sanctions.

Source: RT

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