Five US citizens have been flown out of Iran as part of a widely anticipated prisoner swap deal between Washington and Tehran, a United States official confirmed.
A senior official in US President Joe Biden’s administration told reporters on Monday that five freed Americans and two of their US family members were en route to the Qatari capital, Doha.
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The White House has named three of the prisoners, who were released to house arrest in advance of the swap, as Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz.
The families of the two others have withheld their identities, but they are said to be a scientist and a businessman. Western media outlets also have reported that one is a woman.
Here’s what we know about the Americans being released as part of the deal:
Siamak Namazi, 51
A businessman with dual US-Iranian citizenship, Namazi was detained in 2015 by the Revolutionary Guards while visiting his family in Tehran. Months later, his ailing father, Baquer, was detained after returning to Iran to visit his jailed son.
They were both sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison on accusations of spying and cooperating with the US government.
A former Iranian provincial governor and former UNICEF official who also has dual citizenship, Baquer Namazi was put under house arrest in 2018 on medical grounds and left Iran in 2022 for medical treatment.
Emad Shargi, 59
In 2017, Shargi and his wife moved to Iran from the US.
The Iranian-American businessman was first arrested in 2018 when working for Saravan Holding, a tech investment company. He was released on bail after eight months and a Revolutionary Court cleared him of spying and security-related charges, but his travel ban remained.
In November 2020, he was summoned by another Revolutionary Court that sentenced him to 10 years in jail on charges of espionage. He was not initially imprisoned but Iranian media reported he was arrested as he tried to flee Iran in January 2021.
Morad Tahbaz, 67
An Iranian-American environmentalist who also holds British citizenship, Tahbaz was detained in 2018.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 for “assembly and collusion against Iran’s national security” and “contacts with US enemy government … for the purpose of spying”.