Iran Demands Release of 5 Prisoners in Exchange for Iranian-Americans

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The Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York has officially acknowledged this development. Simultaneously, the Biden administration has granted a blanket waiver to international banks, enabling the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds.

During a protest, a woman holds up a picture of her father who is imprisoned in Iran. (Image Source: AP)

Iran has officially identified five prisoners it hopes to exchange for the release of five Iranian-Americans held in Tehran, along with the transfer of frozen Iranian assets held in South Korea.

The acknowledgment by Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York coincides with the Biden administration’s decision to grant a waiver for international banks to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar, thereby avoiding U.S. sanctions.

This move indicates progress in the prisoner exchange process, as the converted funds in euros are moved to Qatar for humanitarian purposes.

The five Iranian prisoners sought for release are Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, Mehrdad Ansari, Amin Hasanzadeh, Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani, and Kambiz Attar Kashani. On the U.S. side, Washington is seeking the release of Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz, and two other unidentified prisoners.

U.S. Republicans have criticized the potential exchange, which is occurring amid escalating tensions between Iran and the West, particularly regarding Iran’s nuclear program and incidents in the Persian Gulf.

The Pentagon is considering deploying U.S. troops on commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical oil shipping route, while a significant U.S. military presence is already in the region. Additionally, Iran supplies Russia with bomb-carrying drones for its conflict in Ukraine.

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Toshika Chauhan

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