Iran, US conclude prisoner swap agreement

Iran on Monday completed a prisoner swap deal with the United States, which saw the release of five Iranian prisoners in the US in exchange for five American prisoners.
Under the deal, the five Americans were flown from Tehran to Qatar before transferring to flights to Washington, D.C.
The five Iranian detainees were identified as Mehrdad Moein Ansari, Kambiz Attar Kashani, Reza Sarhangpour Kofrani, Amin Hassanzadeh, and Kaveh Lotfollah Afrasiabi.
Two of the five Iranians imprisoned in the US arrived in Doha where they will later transit back home.
Nournews, affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Monday afternoon that Moein Ansari and Sarhangpour Kafrani are now in Doha, Qatar.
“Simultaneously, the three other Iranian prisoners who lived in the US have been freed,” the news outlet said.
The agreement also included the release of nearly $6 billion in Iranian funds which had been illegally blocked in South Korean banks since 2018 due to US sanctions.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Mohammad Reza Farzin said on Monday that funds have been transferred to the accounts of six Iranian lenders in two Qatari banks.
The US administration has insisted that Iran will only be allowed to use the money to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian goods. However, Iran has denied restrictions have been placed on the spending of funds. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani has insisted that the money will allow Tehran to “purchase all non-sanctioned goods,” not just food and medicine.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi, who is currently in New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting, underscored Tehran’s full authority over its assets, saying it is the Islamic Republic that decides how to spend the funds, and that the money will be spent “wherever we need it”.

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