According to information from Tehran, an exchange of prisoners with the USA could be imminent. Does the Iranian government need the rapprochement to defuse the economic crisis?
According to Foreign Minister Husseiin Amirabdollahian, Iran has reached an agreement with the United States on a prisoner exchange. “In the past few days, we have come to an agreement with the United States regarding an exchange of prisoners,” the minister said on Sunday, according to a report by the state news agency Isna.
If “everything should go well”, the exchange will take place in the next few days. Both states have been enemies with each other for decades. There was initially no comment from the US government.
Iran has consistently detained foreigners on charges of espionage or other national security violations. Human rights activists criticize the procedures, which are often negotiated behind closed doors, as unfair. The Islamic Republic has also been accused of holding foreigners hostage. A prisoner swap could also lead to the resumption of negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, which have been deadlocked for months. Iran needs an agreement to end the economic crisis.
One of the best-known prisoners in Iran is businessman Siamak Namasi, who has both citizenships. The 51-year-old was jailed with his father in 2015 and then sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage. Bagher Namasi was released in 2022 under an agreement with the US. However, his son is still in the notorious Ewin prison in the capital, Tehran.
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