U.S. Officials Unfreeze Billions in Iranian Oil Revenue to Secure the Release of 5 Americans Held in Iran

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Iran has released five Americans after President Joe Biden negotiated with officials to unfreeze billions in Iranian oil revenue and dismiss federal charges against five Iranians.

“The president is making five families whole again,” said a White House official Sunday night, according to Fox News.

Some of the five Americans had been held in Evin Prison, a detention center in Iran. They were all flown to Qatar’s capital for a prisoner exchange with two of the five Iranians, the BBC reports.

U.S. officials said three of the Iranians decided not to return to Iran. The Biden administration has said that the Iranians released are not a threat to U.S. national security.

According to the New York Times, Biden said the Americans “will soon be reunited with their loved ones — after enduring years of agony, uncertainty and suffering.”

Siamak Namazi, one of the five Americans released, said in a statement that it may take him a while to get “reacquainted with liberty.”

“I want to see foliage instead of walls and wardens. I want to lay back on the grass, with the warm sun on my face, and gaze up at the open blue skies,” Namazi added. “My other pressing ‘needs’ include visiting the Apple Store to replace all the devices my captors took as bounty. I am dying to find out what gadgets now exist – when I was taken hostage, the iPhone 6s had just come out. You cannot imagine what an eight-year itch feels like.”

Meanwhile, some Republicans criticized the president’s actions, saying paying the ransom could lead to more hostage situations.

“Joe Biden’s embarrassing appeasement not only makes Iran stronger, it makes America less safe,” Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, wrote on X.

Others have said the breakthrough deal signals that Biden is working to repair relations with Iran. Tension between the United States and Iran has escalated since former President Donald Trump rejected a deal involving Tehran’s nuclear program.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Sir Francis Canker Photography

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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