Iran Prisoner Swap: Was it a good or bad deal? An expert weighs in

Sep 20, 2023, 9:00 PM

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)

SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this week, five Americans were freed from Iran in a prisoner swap with the United States. In turn, the United States released five Iranians who had been previously charged and convicted. 

But was it a good deal for America?

Jonathan Franks, president of LUCID Strategies and a crisis management consultant, discusses with KSL NewsRadio whether or not it was a good deal.


“I think what folks need to understand is this was a very complex deal from the start,” he said. “Because there were so many people on both sides in both countries that wanted there to be no deal for political reasons.”

The timing into the prisoner swap

What occurred to allow this to be the right time to make a prisoner exchange?

“So, there have been a lot of steps along the way,” Franks said. “Which would lead a reader to believe that we were building to this. . .. Why exactly the day it was? It’s beyond me. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s happen stance.”

What have the last two or three weeks been like, knowing there may not be an end point? Are the negotiations in person, with the use of technology or everything?

“I assume it’s probably everything,” Franks said. “And there are probably multiple touch points. Remember it’s fairly easy to meet with the Iranians in Europe.”

Franks goes on to say that such negotiations have been held in places such as hotel rooms and in more official locales. Additionally, Franks says it has also occurred in secrecy on multiple occasions. 

“So there always seems to be an ability to maintain that dialogue,” he said. “I assume much of it is by telephone and video conference at least these days.”

Was it a good deal?

“Without question,” Franks said. 

He says it’s naive to assume that countries holding individuals as bargaining chips are going to just open the jail and let them go.

He says it was a bitter pill for the United States.

“But at the end of the day, you got to decide what’s more important,” he said. “Like just something or human life.”

Franks says the number of Americans being detained in other countries around the world is a little more than 50. 

KSL at Night can be heard most weeknights from 7 to 9 p.m.

Read more:


We want to hear from you.

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

KSL at Night

Side-by-side images of Taylor Knuth and Ben Nadolski, the two candidates now running in the Ogden C...

Carlos Artiles Fortun

Get to know the Ogden Mayoral candidates

The two people running for Ogden Mayor are Taylor Knuth and Ben Naldoski. Both of them say the city's growth is a big priority.

20 days ago

Childcare needs Utah...

Carlos Artiles Fortun

Study shows childcare demand is high in Utah

The Utah Women & Leadership Project released new research looking at the need for childcare solutions in Utah.

27 days ago

Glendale Regional Park: Salt Lake City’s first regional park in over 60 years....

Carlos Artiles Fortun

Glendale Regional Park: Salt Lake City’s first regional park in over 60 years

The Glendale Regional Park project is now underway, it will feature a massive playground, an amphitheater and a pool.

1 month ago

Image of Heidi Balderree, who won the special election to replace Sen. Jake Anderegg. (Heidi Balder...

Clayre Scott

Heidi Balderree discusses plans as Utah’s newest senator

As session Utah's 2024 legislative session approaches, Balderree said she will be focused on items like transportation and education. 

2 months ago

ep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, and Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, talk ...

Kristine Weller

Utah is ‘stepping up’ by providing health insurance to immigrant children

A bill that allows children of immigrants to be eligible for the state's Children's Health Insurance Program was passed earlier this year.

2 months ago

The Dan Jones Center for Public Service opens at the University of Utah...

Carlos Artiles Fortun

Dan Jones Center for Public Service opens at University of Utah

The Center will continue Jones' legacy of public opinion polling and provide education opportunities for students.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

Iran Prisoner Swap: Was it a good or bad deal? An expert weighs in