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Ransom payment or effective negotiating? How the US freed five captive Americans in Iran

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US citizens Siamak Namazi (C-with glasses) and Morad Tahbaz are greeted upon their arrival at the Doha International Airport in Doha on September 18, 2023.

A Northeastern Middle East policy expert is hailing the prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran that saw five detained Americans released on Monday as a positive development in relations between the two nations — with several asterisks.  

The five Americans were permitted to leave the country after being imprisoned in Evin Prison — Iran’s most notoriously brutal prison — in exchange for the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iran oil revenue, and the dismissal of federal charges against five Iranians accused of sanctions violations.

All in all, the successful negotiations, which took place quietly over the course of two years, signal tentative progress in relations, but come on the heels of more U.S.-imposed sanctions. It’s the second high-profile international prisoner swap in as many years, after the U.S. traded a notorious Russian arms dealer for WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was jailed in Russia, last year.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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