Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeWorldMiddle EastIran identifies 5 prisoners it wants under swap deal

Iran identifies 5 prisoners it wants under swap deal

Iranian authorities have released the names of five Iranians detained in the United States whom they plan to release as part of a new deal struck between the country and the Biden administration. The deal involves the release of five Americans imprisoned in Tehran and $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds, according to FoxNews.

As part of the deal, Iran has the ability to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian money from South Korea to Qatar without fear of violating U.S. sanctions, Fox News Digital reported earlier. No U.S. taxpayer funds are involved.

The transfer of money that is not going directly to Iran, was crucial to the prisoner release deal. Last month, the deal transferred four of the five U.S. prisoners from Iranian prisons to house arrest. The fifth prisoner had previously been under house arrest.

The names of the prisoners whose release Tehran is seeking were announced last Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. According to Ali Karimi Magam, spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York, the prisoners whose release Iran is seeking were identified as follows:

Iranian Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, who was charged in 2021 with allegedly failing to register as a foreign agent on Iran’s behalf while lobbying U.S. officials on issues like nuclear policy;

Iranian Mehrdad Ansari, who received a 63-month prison sentence in 2021 for obtaining equipment that could be used in missiles, electronic warfare, nuclear weapons and other military gear;

Iranian Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani, who was charged in 2021 for allegedly exporting laboratory equipment to Iran unlawfully;

Amin Hasanzadeh, an Iranian with permanent residency in the U.S., who was charged in 2019 for allegedly stealing engineering plans from his employer and sending them to Iran;

Iranian-American Kambiz Attar Kashani, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison in February after purchasing “sophisticated, top-tier U.S. electronic equipment and software” through front companies in the United Arab Emirates.

The State Department has not yet confirmed the identities of the five Americans involved in the exchange, though the department told the AP it would not comment due to the “sensitivity of this ongoing process.”

Fox News Digital tried to get additional comment from the State Department and directly from the Iranian mission, but was unsuccessful.

In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Tuesday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the Iranian government will spend the money gained “wherever we need it.” He added:

“This money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money. Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs, so this money will be budgeted for those needs and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government.”

Qatar’s central bank will give Iran access to the funds under the terms of the deal. U.S. officials say the bank will ensure that Iran uses the funds only for humanitarian purposes.

Citing a series of hijackings and attacks attributed to Tehran as well as tensions between Iran and the West over its nuclear program, Republicans have been openly critical of the deal since it was unveiled Monday. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., wrote in a letter obtained by Fox News Digital addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken:

“The decision to issue sanction waivers and allow the transfer of these frozen Iranian funds is both deeply troubling and detrimental to our national security.”


Most Popular