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US pays Iran's frozen $6 billion to exchange prisoners

Sep 12, 2023

Washington [US], September 12: The US has allowed Iran's frozen $6 billion to be transferred from South Korea to Qatar under the prisoner return agreement between Washington and Tehran.
The agreement helped 5 American citizens detained in Iran to be released and 5 Iranian citizens to move in the opposite direction. As part of the deal, the US agreed to let international banks transfer $6 billion of frozen Iranian money from South Korea to Qatar.
According to The Guardian , the decision was signed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last weekend and the US Congress was notified on September 11.
The frozen amount is revenue from Iran's oil sales. The money will be sent to Qatar's central bank, where it can be spent on procuring humanitarian goods for Iran. Secretary of State Blinken's exemption order helps international banks not be affected by US sanctions on Iran.
The identities of the five Iranian prisoners are unknown , but Al-Monitor website, citing information from the Iranian mission to the United Nations, said they were Mehrdad Moein Ansari, Kambiz Attar Kashani, Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani and Amin Hasanzadeh, four people convicted of sending prohibited equipment, classified information for Iran. The fifth person named Kaveh Afrasiabi, a political scientist in Boston (USA) was charged with failing to register as a foreign representative.
Meanwhile, the Americans who will be released include 51-year-old Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi, arrested in 2015 and imprisoned for 10 years for allegedly collaborating with foreign governments. The second person is 58-year-old businessman Emad Sharghi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2020 for espionage charges. Another person, identified as 68-year-old wildlife conservationist and businessman Morad Tahbaz, received a 10-year prison sentence on charges of contacting the US government.
These five American citizens have been transferred from prison to home arrest. AP cited a source familiar with the negotiations as expecting these prisoners to be released as early as next week.
Source: Thanh Nien Newspaper