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Iran Releases 5 Americans on “Purely Humanitarian” Grounds

Iran Releases 5 Americans on “Purely Humanitarian” Grounds

Iran Releases 5 Americans on “Purely Humanitarian” Grounds

Iran Releases 5 Americans on “Purely Humanitarian” Grounds

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  • Iran releases 5 Americans from detention, citing humanitarian motives.
  • The release was part of a broader agreement that also involved the US unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian assets.
  • Iran’s president says the funds will be used to address the needs of the Iranian people.
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stated that the release of the five Americans from Iranian detention this week was driven solely by humanitarian considerations.

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“There was an opportunity for this exchange to take place. This exchange was, as I said, prompted by purely humanitarian motives, and I do think that the accomplishment was something that led to the happiness of the families of the prisoners, as well as being able to show the true face of our humanitarian motives and efforts,” Raisi told Fareed Zakaria in New York, in an exclusive interview set to air in full Sunday.

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The five Americans, including Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, and Siamak Namazi, as well as two individuals whose identities remain undisclosed, were officially recognized by the State Department as wrongfully detained.

They returned to the United States on Tuesday morning, reuniting emotionally with their families at Fort Belvoir’s Davison Army Airfield.

This release was part of a broader agreement that also involved the United States unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian assets.

It marked a significant diplomatic breakthrough following years of intricate indirect negotiations between the two nations, which lack formal diplomatic relations.

While the Iranian government asserts its freedom to use these funds as it sees fit, the Biden administration has consistently emphasized that the funds are earmarked for non-sanctioned purposes such as food and medicine, with stringent oversight in place.

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Raisi told Zakaria that the “funds belong to people of Iran” and that his government “will certainly keep to the core of our belief that the objective is to spend those funds to respond to the needs of the Iranian people.”

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“These were funds belonging to the Iranian nation,” he said. “Naturally, when these funds come back, they will have to be spent towards the needs that address, towards objectives that address the needs of the Iranian people. And we will certainly keep to the core of our belief that the objective is to spend those funds to respond to the needs of the Iranian people.”

President Joe Biden encountered opposition to the agreement, as some Republicans were quick to express their disapproval, contending that the money transfer hurt the United States’ standing in the international arena and might serve as an encouragement for adversaries to unjustly detain American citizens.

In his earlier address at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, President Raisi criticized American sanctions, including those imposed on Iran in response to the violent suppression of protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, asserting that “they have not produced the intended outcomes.”

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