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Morad Tahbaz, wearing blue cotton shirt, in a sunny garden with his arm around his daughter Roxanne
Morad Tahbaz (pictured here with his daughter Roxanne), who also holds British citizenship, is one of the US citizens released by Iran under the deal. Photograph: Roxanne Tahbaz/Reuters
Morad Tahbaz (pictured here with his daughter Roxanne), who also holds British citizenship, is one of the US citizens released by Iran under the deal. Photograph: Roxanne Tahbaz/Reuters

US-Iran prisoner swap: the detainees freed in exchange agreement

US and Iran agree to free five people each under deal also involving transfer of $6bn in unfrozen Iranian assets

The US and Iran have freed five detainees each under an exchange agreement that also involves the transfer of $6bn (?4.8bn) in unfrozen Iranian assets from South Korea.

Americans disembark plane in Qatar after being released from Iran – video

The following are the US citizens who were previously imprisoned in Iran:

Siamak Namazi

Siamak Namazi, 51, a businessman with dual US-Iranian citizenship, was detained in 2015 by the Revolutionary Guards while visiting his family in Tehran. Months later his ailing father, Baquer, was detained after returning to Iran to visit his jailed son. They were both sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison for allegedly spying and cooperating with the US government.

A former Iranian provincial governor and former Unicef official who also has dual citizenship, Baquer Namazi was put under house arrest in 2018 on medical grounds and left Iran in 2022 for medical treatment.

Siamak Namazi, pictured in San Francisco in 2006, standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge wearing a black T-shirt and sunglasses
Siamak Namazi, pictured in San Francisco in 2006, was detained in Iran in 2015. Photograph: Ahmad Kiarostami/Reuters

Emad Sharghi

In 2017 Emad Sharghi and his wife moved to Iran from the US. The Iranian-American businessman, 59, was first arrested in 2018 when working for Saravan Holding, a tech investment company. He was released on bail after eight months, and a revolutionary court cleared him of spying and security-related charges, but his travel ban remained.

In November 2020 he was summoned by another revolutionary court which sentenced him to 10 years in jail on charges of espionage. He was not initially imprisoned but Iranian media reported he was arrested as he tried to flee Iran in January 2021.

Morad Tahbaz

An Iranian-American environmentalist, 67, who also holds British citizenship, Morad Tahbaz was detained in 2018. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 for “assembly and collusion against Iran’s national security” and “contacts with US enemy government … for the purpose of spying”.

Two as yet unnamed

The fourth and fifth prisoners who were released were not identified. It is not clear how many US citizens are detained in Iran, since families and the US government often do not wish to publicise the cases in the hope of quietly securing their release.

Iranian detainees in the US

The five Iranians previously held in the US were Mehrdad Moin-Ansari, Kambiz Attar Kashani, Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani, Amin Hassanzadeh and Kaveh Afrasiabi, according to Iranian officials.

Iran’s foreign ministry said two Iranians freed under the deal would remain in the US and one of the Iranians would fly to a third country to join his family. Two others would return home.

For years, Iran has demanded the release of Iranians detained in the US. There are more than a dozen Iranian prisoners held in the US, mainly for “breaching the US sanctions on Iran”, one Iranian judiciary source told Reuters.

More on this story

More on this story

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