A calibrated swap of prisoners between the United States and Iran

A calibrated swap of prisoners between the United States and Iran

2023-09-18 21:44:43

Siamak Namazi (top), Emad Sharghi (bottom, left) and Morad Tahbaz (bottom, right), three of the former American captives, as they get off the plane Monday at Doha International Airport , in Qatar. KARIM JAAFAR/AFP

Five American captives left Tehran for Qatar, where several former Iranian detainees, who had arrived from across the Atlantic, were waiting.

This strongly resembles a release of hostages, but with a particularly sophisticated outcome, involving around ten captives, two enemy states and the transfer, via complex banking circuits, of 6 billion dollars. We are not talking about ransom, since it involves Iranian money blocked on American orders in banks in South Korea. However, the synchronization of the final “sequencing”, the culmination of eight rounds of negotiations over fourteen months between Iranians and Americans, via Qatari emissaries in Doha, evokes the outcome of a hostage-taking.

Monday morning, finally seeing the end of the tunnel, five American citizens of Iranian origin, detained for years in Iran, were first transported to an airport in Tehran, where a plane from Qatar was waiting for the green light to take off. “We hope to have confirmation today of payment in full” assets released and “the exchange of prisoners will take place on the same day”then declared…

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