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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Alamy Stock Photo Roxanne Tahbaz, holds a picture of her father Morad Tahbaz, who has been freed from an Iranian prison
Prisoner Swap

Five US citizens who were jailed in Iran have been freed in a deal between both countries

US President Joe Biden has granted clemency to five Iranians who were jailed or awaiting trial for non-violent crimes.

THE US HAS confirmed a prisoner swap with Iran, exchanging five Iranian citizens for five Americans.

US President Joe Biden has granted clemency to five Iranians who were jailed or awaiting trial for non-violent crimes.

A US official said that seven US citizens were on a Qatari plane that departed Iran – five who had been imprisoned and two relatives who had been prevented from leaving.

They include three previously identified Americans – Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Sharqi – and two who wish to remain anonymous.

Also on the plane are Namazi’s mother and Sharqi’s wife, both of whom are US citizens who were barred from leaving Iran, although they were not imprisoned.

All are of Iranian descent and are considered citizens by Tehran, which does not recognize dual nationality.

The US official said that Biden, in taking the politically risky move, was also imposing new sanctions on Iran’s intelligence ministry and former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The sanctions were imposed over alleged deceit over the disappearance of Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in mysterious circumstance and is presumed dead.

“The United States will never give up on Bob Levinson’s case. We call on the Iranian regime to give a full account of what happened to Bob Levinson,” a senior US official said on condition of anonymity.

Levinson had traveled to the Iranian island of Kish on a CIA mission. Iran has not acknowledged his arrest.

The US official said that the five Iranians granted clemency were all charged or convicted with nonviolent crimes.” Two were in prison, with the sentence of one soon to end, and three were awaiting trial.

© AFP 2023

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