U.S. advances deal with Iran to free prisoners, $6 billion in oil funds


The Biden administration has issued a waiver for banks to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds without fear of U.S. sanctions — a key step in securing the release of five American citizens detained in Iran, said people familiar with the matter. As a part of the arrangement, the administration will release five Iranian citizens detained in the United States.

The move, which was first reported by the Associated Press, was notified to Congress on Monday and is likely to come as a relief to U.S. prisoner’s families and supporters, many of whom have waited several years for the return of the detainees. It also expected to come under harsh criticism from Republicans in Congress opposed to any agreement that allows for the release of frozen Iranian funds, which will be transferred from South Korea to Qatar.

The U.S. prisoners held by Iran include Siamak Namazi, an Iranian American who had been behind bars in Tehran for nearly eight years, the longest duration the Islamic republic has jailed any American. Others include Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian American who also holds British citizenship, and Emad Shargi, an American Iranian dual citizen. Each were released from Iran’s notorious Evin Prison last month in an initial step of the deal.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.


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