Five Americans Jailed In Iran Fly Home

Monday, September 18, 2023 | Tag Cloud

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – Five American citizens jailed for years in Iran were on their way home to the United States Monday after being released in exchange for billions of dollars in a controversial prisoner swap.

The four men and one woman, who also hold Iranian passports, boarded a Qatari aircraft in the Iranian capital, Tehran, as Qatar mediated the deal. They were then flown to Doha, where dignitaries awaited them at the airport before continuing their journey to the U.S.

Visibly exhausted but happy to be free, Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Sharghi, and two others who asked to remain anonymous slowly walked down the aircraft stairs.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday welcomed their release. However, he also demanded that Tehran thoroughly explain what happened to Bob Levinson, an American who disappeared during a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) mission in 2007 and is presumed dead.

Biden recalled the “agony, uncertainty, and suffering” endured by the five citizens before returning to the U.S. “Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home,” Biden said in a statement.

The president thanked U.S. partners in Qatar, Oman, Switzerland, and South Korea, who helped make their release possible.

Yet, their release depended on the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds, earned from selling oil to South Korea, to banks in Doha – which was said to have been completed.


Republicans, including former U.S. President Donald J. Trump, have questioned the deal with a “terrorist state” that they say could lead to more kidnappings by rogue states such as Iran.

The Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, condemned the Biden administration for transferring funds to “the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism.”

Biden had long been urged to bring home Americans who have widely been seen as hostages used by Iran as bargaining chips on baseless charges for political leverage.

The Americans included 51-year-old businessman Namazi, who spent nearly eight years in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, as well as businessman Shargi, 59, and environmentalist Tahbaz, 67, who also holds British nationality.

In the first indication a deal was reached, they were moved in mid-August from Evin, where Iranian Christians and dissidents were held as well, to a safe house in Tehran.

Five Iranians imprisoned in U.S. jails, mainly on charges of violating American sanctions, were granted amnesty as part of the swap, though not all were due to return to Iran.

Namazi said in a statement: “I would not be free today if it wasn’t for all of you who didn’t allow the world to forget me. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for being my voice when I could not speak for myself and for making sure I was heard when I mustered the strength to scream from behind the impenetrable walls of Evin Prison.”


He also praised President Biden for making “some incredibly difficult decisions to rescue us” and “ultimately putting the lives of American citizens above politics.”

That referenced the billions of dollars paid to Iran and other concessions. Yet the 80-year-old Biden, who doesn’t want to be seen as weak, quickly announced new sanctions against Iran.

He targeted the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence for what he said was their involvement in “wrongful detentions.”

The deal comes after months of indirect talks mediated by Qatar, which began in February last year.
Sources said there were at least nine rounds of discussions in Doha, and senior Qatari officials also shuttled between Tehran and Washington.

While controversial, analysts say that Biden, heading into the election, can now show to voters he can bring Americans home. For Iran’s leadership, releasing Iranians and six billion dollars in cash is seen as a big win.

Tehran claims they will spend their money as they wish, but sources familiar with the negotiations say the funds will be strictly controlled. They point out that the billions will only go to “humanitarian transactions, including food, medicine, agriculture, paid to third party vendors, transaction by transaction.”

Yet critics have expressed doubts and fear much will go to Iran’s leadership sponsoring terrorism and the country’s controversial nuclear program.

We're being CENSORED ... HELP get the WORD OUT! SHARE!!!
Copyright 1999-2023 Worthy News. All rights reserved.

If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.

Worthy Christian News