Who are the Americans freed in the Iran prisoner swap?

Five Americans wrongfully detained in Iran were released Monday as part of the Biden administration’s agreement with Iran to unfreeze $6 billion in funds in exchange for the prisoners’ freedom. 

The five traveled from Tehran early Monday on a Qatari plane to Doha, a senior administration official confirmed. A plane carrying the Americans to Washington is due to land Monday night. 

Those released include Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi and two others who have asked for their identities to remain private.

The mother of Namazi and the wife of Tahbaz, who have not been able to leave Iran, traveled with the group of prisoners as well. 

In exchange for their release, the White House’s agreement granted clemency to five Iranians and issued a blanket waiver for international banks to allow the transfer of $6 billion of Iranian oil sale proceeds, frozen in South Korea to a bank in Qatar. 

All five Americans were sentenced in Iran to 10 years in prison on different spying charges.  

Who are the Americans freed in the Iran prisoner swap?

Siamak Namazi

Namazi, an 51-year-old Iranian American businessman, was arrested in 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in prison alongside his father, Baquer, for “co-operating with a foreign enemy,” BBC News reported. Both denied the claims, BBC News said. Baquer Namazi was permitted to leave for media treatment in 2022. 

In a statement issued on his behalf, Siamak Namazi said, “I would not be free today, if it wasn’t for all of you who didn’t allow the world to forget me.”

“Thank you for being my voice when I could not speak for myself and for making sure I was heard when I mustered the strength to scream from behind the impenetrable walls of Evin Prison,” he said.

Morad Tahbaz

Tahbaza British American conservationist of Iranian descent, was arrested in 2018 and also received a 10-year sentence, according to The Associated Press.

BBC News reported Tahbaz, 67, was arrested alongside eight other Iranian conservationists who were accused of spying after using cameras to track critically endangered wild Asiatic cheetahs. 

Emad Shargi

Shargi, 56, was born in Iran but left the country as a child, CBS News reported. After he and his wife relocated to Iran, Shargi was detained in April 2018, released on bail and then cleared of the charges eight months later. He was arrested a second time in 2020 and sentenced to 10 years on espionage charges. 

Two unidentified prisoners

Two of the freed Americans asked to remain anonymous, though CBS News reported one of the individuals is a female former United Nations worker. 

The Associated Press contributed.

Tags Iran Joe Biden