Five Americans who were imprisoned in Iran have now been placed under house arrest, White House officials said — a sign that a potential prison swap between Tehran and Washington is in the works after two years of closed-door negotiations.
Negotiations with Tehran were “ongoing and delicate,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said Thursday, declining to detail efforts to return the Americans back to the U.S.
The U.S. prisoners — Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz, and another two who were not publicly identified — had been detained on unsubstantiated charges of spying. They have reportedly been transferred from Tehran’s Evin Prison to a hotel.
The U.S. and Iran reached an agreement to free the Americans in exchange for several jailed Iranians and roughly $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue, the New York Times reported.
Iran’s United Nations mission later confirmed that the agreement to free the American detainees involved the release of $6 billion to $7 billion in frozen assets in South Korea, the Associated Press reported.