Daily Management Review

Following Qatar Deal Unfreezing $6 Billion, The United States And Iran Trade Detainees


Following  Qatar Deal Unfreezing $6 Billion, The United States And Iran Trade Detainees
In a rare agreement between the bitter rivals - the United States and Iran, that also unfroze $6 billion of Tehran's funds, five American prisoners were flown out of Iran on Monday in exchange for five Iranian prisoners jailed in the United States.
Soon after both parties received confirmation that the monies had been moved to accounts in Doha, a jet dispatched by mediator Qatar transported the five American nationals and two of their families out of Tehran, according to a source knowledgeable on the situation who spoke to Reuters.
Two of the five Iranians arrived in Qatar at the same time, according to a U.S. official. Three people have chosen not to go back to Iran.
The agreement, reached after months of negotiations in Qatar, ends a major point of contention between Iran and the United States, which views Washington as the "Great Satan" and accuses Tehran of supporting terrorism.
On other topics, however, such as American sanctions and the American military presence in the Gulf, Iran's nuclear programme and its influence throughout the region, they are still sharply split.
The deal, according to a senior member of the U.S. administration, did not alter Washington's hostile relationship with Tehran, but it did leave the door open for future diplomatic efforts to address Iran's nuclear programme.
"If we see an opportunity, we will explore it but right now, I've really nothing to talk about," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The five dual-national Americans are scheduled to travel from Doha to the US. An Iranian official who was informed of the proceedings remarked, "They are in good health."
Nasser Kanaani, a spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, stated that two of the Iranians being released will go back to their country, while two would stay in the United States at their own option. He stated that one detainee will visit his family in a different nation.
After U.S. sanctions against Iran were tightened in 2018, Kanaani claimed the funds, which had been stopped in South Korea, will be made accessible to Tehran on Monday. As per the agreement, Qatar would make sure the money is used for humanitarian causes rather than those that are prohibited by American sanctions.
Qatar, a tiny but incredibly wealthy Gulf Arab energy producer, has worked to increase its international visibility by hosting the World Cup of football last year and establishing a position in world diplomacy. Although it is a Sunni Muslim country, it has developed strong links with Iran, a Shi'ite Muslim country.
At least eight rounds of negotiations between Iranian and American negotiators took place in Doha, according to a source who spoke to Reuters earlier.
US Republicans have criticised the transfer of Iran's finances under the agreement, claiming that President Joe Biden, a Democrat, is essentially paying a ransom for American citizens.
The arrangement has been defended by the White House.
Siamak Namazi, 51, Emad Sharqi, 59, both businesspeople, and Morad Tahbaz, 67, an environmentalist with dual British and American citizenship, are among the dual citizens of the United States who will be freed. They were placed under home arrest after being freed from prison last month.
A fifth American was already under house arrest when a fourth American was freed and placed under house arrest. Their identities remain a secret.
The five Iranians who will be freed by the United States are Mehrdad Moin-Ansari, Kambiz Attar-Kashani, Reza Sarhangpour-Kafrani, Amin Hassanzadeh, and Kaveh Afrasiabi, according to Iranian officials. Afrasiabi would continue to reside in the United States, according to two Iranian officials, but no additional officials were cited.
Since Donald Trump, a Republican, pulled the United States out of a nuclear agreement between Iran and major powers in 2018, when he was president, relations between Washington and Tehran have been on the boil. Since then, efforts to reach another nuclear agreement have not made much progress as Biden gears himself for the 2024 presidential election.
Washington lifted sanctions as part of the agreement to permit the movement of $6 billion in Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar. When Washington slapped broad financial sanctions on Tehran, the money could not be transferred and was instead blocked in South Korea, which is typically one of Iran's biggest oil clients.