Friday, September 29, 2023

The five Americans freed by Iran have arrived in the United States

The five Americans freed by Iran under a deal facilitated by the release of $6 billion in frozen oil revenues (about $8 billion Canadian) arrived in the United States on Tuesday.

They landed at dawn at a military base near Washington, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Welcome to your houseJake Sullivan, Joe Biden’s national security advisor, reacted immediately.

Other photos showed former inmates, all smiles, kissing their loved ones at the Fort Belvoir military base in Virginia.

It really feels good to be able to say that our fellow citizens are now free.The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, had declared to the press the day before, justifying once again the agreement with Tehran, highly criticized in the United States by the Republican opposition.

Joe Biden had a conversation full of emotion with the families of these Americans, the White House also announced.

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Relief of tensions

The former American prisoners, including one detained for eight years, and two members of his family left Tehran on Monday morning aboard a Qatari flight bound for Doha, where they stopped before taking off for the United States.

A transfer of Iranian funds frozen in South Korea, worth $6 billion (about $8 billion Canadian), was also announced in Doha, with Qatar having been one of the mediators of the agreement, and confirmed by Iran.

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Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharqi and Morad Tahbaz passed through Doha International Airport for the first time on September 18, 2023. Qatar played a mediating role in this agreement.

Photo: Getty Images / KARIM JAAFAR

This transfer was part of the agreement, as was the release of five Iranian prisoners by the United States on Monday.

Among the five Iranian-Americans released are businessman Siamak Namazi, arrested in 2015 and sentenced to ten years in prison in 2016 for espionage, Morad Tahbaz, who also has British nationality, and Emad Sharqi, an investor sentenced to ten years in prison. prison. prison for espionage.

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The other two did not want to be identified. According to some experts, this agreement demonstrates a relative relaxation of tensions between Iran and the United States, but does not prejudge a possible agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue.

It’s not a blank check

Washington rests Unwavering in his commitment that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon.recalled Joe Biden on Tuesday from the podium of the UN General Assembly in New York.

France, which supports the nuclear deal and believes that four of its citizens are currently arbitrarily detained in Iran, however warned against the risk of linking the two issues. We must be careful and distinguish this issue from that of nuclear energy.stressed the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, in New York.

We are not naive. We observe the brutal repression in Iran and the use of hostages by the authorities to pressure governments.

There will be progress towards greater stability and security, but we do not underestimate the level of tensions and difficulties.Charles Michel added.

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The United States insisted that this was not a blank check offered to Iran and that the use of frozen Iranian funds, under strict supervisionIt was intended for humanitarian purposes only.

The money that was cruelly blocked until now and currently in the possession of the Islamic Republic belongs to the (Iranian) people and we will use it to meet the needs of the people.declared the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raïssi, in New York, where he also spoke this Tuesday at the United Nations.

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