US-Iran Prisoner Exchange: 5 US Prisoners Depart Iran After Official Confirmation
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Iran has released five US prisoners as part of a swap with the United States in exchange for the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian assets by the US.

According to an official, five US prisoners included in a swap with Iran left Tehran on Monday.

Flight-tracking data analyzed by the AP showed a Qatar Airways flight departing from Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport, which has been used for previous exchanges. Iranian state media confirmed the flight’s departure shortly afterward.

The official provided this information to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity due to the ongoing exchange.

The exchange was set to occur once nearly $6 billion in previously frozen Iranian assets reached Qatar, a crucial element of the planned swap.

Despite this exchange, tensions are likely to persist between the US and Iran, given their ongoing disputes, including concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. While Iran claims its nuclear program is peaceful, it has been enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, was the first to confirm the swap’s occurrence, stating that the funds sought for the exchange, which had been held by South Korea, were now in Qatar.

Kanaani’s remarks were made during a news conference broadcast on state television, but the feed was cut immediately following his comments.

He stated, “Fortunately, Iran’s frozen assets in South Korea were released, and, God willing, today the assets will begin to be fully controlled by the government and the nation.” He also mentioned that five Iranian citizens imprisoned in the US would be released.

The official noted that both Iranian and US officials had been informed by Qatar that the money had been transferred to the Gulf Arab nation, which serves as an intermediary between the US and Iran.

Mohammad Reza Farzin, Iran’s Central Bank chief, later confirmed on state television that over 5.5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) had been received in accounts in Qatar. Previously, Iran had expected to receive as much as $7 billion.

The US has not yet commented on this announcement.

This exchange occurred ahead of world leaders’ meeting at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week, where Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi is expected to speak.

It is worth noting that Iran and the US have a history of prisoner swaps dating back to the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis. The most recent major exchange took place in 2016.

The West has accused Iran of using foreign prisoners, including those with dual nationality, as bargaining chips, an allegation Iran denies.

Source: with agencies

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