Siamak Namazi

A US Hostage In Iran Reportedly Says He Will Be Freed Soon

Thursday, 06/01/2023

Disclaimer: The following report was published based on reports in the Iranian media on Thursday that they later changed and admitted their news was wrong.

An American hostage in Iran, Siamak Namazi, has informed his family that Iranian authorities have told him he will be freed soon, media in Iran reported Thursday.

UPDATE - Later on Thursday Shargh newspaper in Tehran quoted Namazi's lawyer as saying that he did not tell his family about his possible release and the news was totally false.

The news was brief and there were no details. It has not been confirmed by the US government or directly by the family, but the development comes after multiple reports of talks between Tehran and Washington to release Americans held by the Islamic Republic in exchange for Iran’s frozen funds abroad.
Iran International reported last week that talks were taking place to release Iranian funds held in South Korea in exchange for possibly three Americans who were arrested over the past eight years and convicted on unsubstantiated charges in sham trials, without due process of law.
A source with direct knowledge of the talks had told Iran International that talks had made progress and focused on Iranian funds held in Iraq and South Korea.
Around $7 billion is held by two South Korean banks, due to US financial sanctions on Iran. The funds represent Seoul’s debts to Tehran for importing oil before US sanctions fully kicked in in May 2019.
Those funds would be released in exchange for the hostages while more than $10 billion held by Iraq due to US sanctions could be released in exchange for Tehran to show more “flexibility” in nuclear talks, the source said.
US sanctions have driven Iran’s economy into a serious crisis, with the country unable to generate much oil export revenues. It has spent almost all of its foreign currency reserves, with inflation nearing 70 percent and the national currency having lost half its value in less than a year.
Nour News in Tehran affiliated with the National Security Council posted a cryptic tweet Thursday saying that Iran has tried for a long time to arrange a “prisoner exchange” out of its “humanitarian concerns” but the United States unnecessarily delayed an agreement. The tone used seems to indicate an agreement has now been reached.
Currently there are three dual nationals with American citizenship and two individuals with US permanent residency held by Iran on trumped-up charges of espionage.

Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Shargi

The three citizens are Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, while Jamshid Sharmahd and Shahab Dalili are US permanent residents.
In a White House briefing on Wednesday, national security coordinator John Kirby was asked about the recent trip of Oman’s Sultan to Tehran as a sign of indirect talks. Kirby responded that “We have — we have multiple ways of communicating with the Iranians. I’m not really sure I understand what you’re getting at.”
However, it is widely believed in Tehran that the Omani ruler, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said’s visit was primarily a mediating mission. Oman has played the role of a go-between with Tehran on several occasions.
Axios recently reported that Brett McGurk, President Joe Biden’s senior Middle East adviser, took a low-profile trip to Oman earlier this month for talks on possible diplomatic outreach to Iran.
This was an indirect confirmation of Iran International’s earlier report about ongoing talks on release of Iran’s blocked funds.

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