Five US citizens deemed unjustly detained have all been transferred to house arrest in Iran after being held there previously, US officials said on Thursday.
Four of the five people were released from Iran’s notorious Evin prison on Thursday, according to a lawyer for one of the detainees. A fifth person was already in prison but was placed under house arrest on Thursday.
The White House and State Department confirmed Thursday in separate statements that the citizens have been released from prison and placed under house arrest.
The development is part of an agreement reached by Iran and the United States that, after months of quiet negotiations, will eventually see all five citizens released from custody and allowed to leave the country. water, ABC News reported.
In return, Tehran will receive about $6 billion worth of Iranian assets held in a limited account in South Korea.
Here’s what is known about five US citizens: Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz as well as two others, a man and a woman, who have asked not to be identified.
Namazi, Tahbaz and Shargi have all been accused by Iran of espionage – accusations the US calls baseless.
Namazi, 51, is an oil executive who was first arrested in 2015 while on a business trip to Iran. He was then sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Siamak Namazi’s father, Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF official, was also detained by Iran in 2016 when he traveled to the country to try to meet his son. Baquer Namazi was later released but was barred from leaving the country until October, when the then 85-year-old man was allowed to leave Iran for medical treatment.
The younger Namazi was allowed to see his father at this point but was then forced to return to Evin prison over a week later. Siamak Namazi marked the seventh anniversary of his detention in early 2023 with a seven-day hunger strike to urge the Biden administration to do more to free Americans imprisoned in Iran. .
Tahbaz, 67, is an Iranian-American conservationist who also holds British citizenship; he was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
He was granted a two-day leave in March, when Tehran approved the release of two other foreign nationals, but was eventually forced to return to Evin.
Shargi, 58, was traveling in Iran with his wife in 2018 when he was detained without explanation.
Initially, Iranian authorities confiscated his American passport, preventing him from leaving the country, before arresting him in 2020 and giving him a 10-year sentence for espionage.
A fourth US citizen
Their identities and Iran’s accusations against them remain unknown. This person was arrested last year and detained in Evin.
A fifth US citizen
The identity of the fifth prisoner, a woman, is also unknown. She was placed under house arrest when the agreement was reached but had previously served time in prison.