UNITED STATES

Five Americans detained in Iran expected to be freed as part of deal to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds

Sep 18, 2023, 7:01 AM | Updated: 7:09 am

Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz were among the Americans believed to be involved in the...

Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz were among the Americans believed to be involved in the deal. (Siamak Namazi/Neda Shargi/Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley)

(Siamak Namazi/Neda Shargi/Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley)

Doha and Washington (CNN) — Five Americans who have been imprisoned in Iran are expected to be released Monday, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said, as part of a wider deal with the United States that includes the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian funds.

The US government has designated all five Americans as being wrongfully detained.

Speaking at a press conference which was shown on state-affiliated Press TV on Monday, foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said the release “will hopefully be completed” alongside the other elements of the deal.

The detainees have arrived at an airport in Tehran and are due to be flown on a Qatari jet to Doha, a source briefed on details of the matter told CNN on Monday afternoon local time.

The release of the Americans would bring to an end a years-long nightmare for those who had been detained. Three of those who are believed to be part of the deal – Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, and Siamak Namazi – have all been imprisoned for more than five years. Namazi has been detained since 2015. The identities of the other two Americans are not publicly known.

Under the agreement between the US and Iran, $6 billion in Iranian funds that had been held in restricted accounts in South Korea would be transferred to restricted accounts in banks in Qatar. Iranian and US officials have been notified by Qatar that the money has been transferred from Switzerland to bank accounts in Qatar, according to a source briefed on details of the matter.

Sources told CNN the funds came from oil sales that were allowed and placed into accounts set up under the Trump administration. Biden administration officials have stressed that the funds that have been transferred to the accounts in Qatar will only be able to be used by Iran for humanitarian purchases and each transaction will be monitored by the US Treasury Department.

The agreement, which has already prompted criticism from Republicans, also involves the release of five Iranians in US custody.

The deal, if completed successfully, would represent a significant diplomatic breakthrough after years of complicated indirect negotiations between Washington and Tehran.

The overall contours of the release protest began to crystallize in Doha about seven months ago after years of indirect negotiations. The first tangible public steps under the deal took place about five weeks ago, when four of the Americans were transferred into house arrest. The fifth American was already under house arrest.

Namazi is a dual Iranian-US citizen. His father, Baquer Namazi, was released in order to receive medical treatment in October 2022 after more than six years in detention in Iran.

Shargi, a businessman, and Tahbaz, an environmentalist, were first arrested in 2018. They too are dual Iranian-US citizens.

In March, in an unprecedented interview with CNN from inside Evin Prison, Namazi made an emotional plea to President Joe Biden to put the “liberty of innocent Americans above politics” and ramp up efforts to secure his release.

Namazi’s family, as well as the Shargi and Tahbaz families, had made urgent calls for the Biden administration to intensify efforts to bring their loved ones home.

Related:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

United States

Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to court for his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal ...

Simone Seikaly

LISTEN: Closing arguments begin in Trump hush money trial

Former President Donald Trump faces felony charges related to a hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, in 2016. 

8 hours ago

Severe weekend weather in the US...

Amie Schaeffer

Severe weekend weather across the U.S. leaves 22 dead

The central and southern parts of the United States experienced severe weather over the holiday weekend leaving 22 dead.

17 hours ago

a person passes a tsa checkpoint, the tsa hit a record this memorial day weekend...

Sam Herrera

TSA sets record over Memorial Day weekend

According to the agency, TSA officers beat a record previously set on Nov. 26 last year.

1 day ago

the us house of representatives shown at the capitol, the house passed a bill about sodium nitrite...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

House passes bill to ban a compound used in suicides

Legislation backed by Rep. Celeste Maloy would ban the consumer sale of sodium nitrite, a product becoming increasingly common in suicides.

6 days ago

The European Union is about to enact strict new rules to try to prevent misuse of Artificial Intell...

Simone Seikaly

New AI rules for the EU, but the loneliness remains

As the European Union adopts strict rules for Artificial Intelligence, some in America question if AI can replace loneliness.

7 days ago

one of chad daybell and tammy daybell's children, daughter Emma Murray takes the stand...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Chad Daybell daughter says her mother’s health was declining before she died

Chad Daybell's daughter Emma Murrary took the stand as the defense in the Chad Daybell murder trial began presenting its case Monday.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Five Americans detained in Iran expected to be freed as part of deal to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds