Updated Aug 10, 2023, 2:45pm EDT
securityMiddle East

Iran releases five Americans into house arrest in potential prisoner swap

A prisoner walks in the Evin prison yard in Tehran, Iran
Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

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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.

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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.