The five US citizens are Iranian nationals and had been held in an Iranian cell for some time. According to the US authorities, they were wrongly accused of espionage, among other things. Among them are scientists and businessmen. One of them was held for about 8 years.
After more than two years of intense negotiations between the US government and the Iranian regime, significant progress has now occurred. Four of them were released today from the notorious Evin Prison in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and are now staying in a hotel under the supervision of Iranian government agents. A fifth prisoner, an American, had been released from prison a few weeks earlier.
It will be the first step towards their eventual release and return to the United States, although that may take some time. Iranian representation in the United Nations confirms the existence of the agreement. The White House does not comment on the terms of the swap deal, but according to the New York Times, the United States will release some Iranian prisoners who were serving sentences for violating sanctions against Iran.
In addition, the Americans will also release the Iranian money in South Korea, which is worth about $6 billion, and then the Americans will be permanently released. The New York Times wrote that the money would be put into an account in Qatar. The Qatari government then verifies that the released funds are being used by Iran for humanitarian purposes.
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