Iraqi mediation between Washington and Tehran: prisoners for money
Shafaq News/ The American newspaper "Washington Post" reported that the United States denied Iran's announcement of releasing 7 billion dollars of funds owed to Iran and frozen abroad, in exchange for the Iranian authorities facilitating the release of the American Siamak Namazi, who has been detained in Iran for seven years, a deal from It is believed that Iraq was a major contributor to its facilitation.
According to Western officials, Siamak Namazi, 51, and his father, Baqer Namazi, 85, who was arrested while seeking his son's release, are among a large list of US and European citizens held in Iran as political bargaining chips.
And the American newspaper pointed out, in a report translated by Shafak News Agency, that Tehran announced last Saturday that after Namazi was released, Washington would unfreeze $7 billion of Iranian funds held in banks in South Korea, which were detained as part of the US sanctions imposed on the Iranians.
The newspaper quoted a report by the Iranian news agency IRNA that with the completion of negotiations between Iran and the United States to release prisoners from the two countries, 7 billion dollars of Iran's withheld funds will be released.
But the "Washington Post" quoted a US State Department source as saying that no money would be transferred as part of the deal, noting that the State Department was still working to obtain the full release of Siamak Namazi, as well as several other US citizens imprisoned in Iran.
The report also quoted State Department spokesman Ned Price as saying the United States thanked its allies and partners who worked tirelessly to help Namazi, including the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Switzerland, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Britain.
The American newspaper's report indicated that the Iranian media reported Saturday about any "regional country" that helped facilitate the Iran-US deal.
The "Washington Post" quoted what it called an "informed source" who is not authorized to make public statements, as saying that Iraq played a key role in mediating between Iran and US and British officials.
Namazi, an American businessman of Iranian origin, was arrested in 2015 while he was on a visit to Iran, and an Iranian court convicted him in 2016 on charges related to espionage, which he denied.
According to the "Reuters" agency, Namazi was released from prison according to the "leave" formula for a week, during which he will remain in Iran in order to meet with members of his relatives, and it is not clear whether this leave will be extended.
Last Friday, the Iranian authorities announced that they had arrested 9 European citizens for their role in the recent protests in Iran, a step that would inflame tension with the West, according to the "Washington Post".
In a parallel but separate case, the American newspaper reported that Venezuela, another opponent of Washington, announced Saturday that it had released 7 Americans arrested by the Caracas government about 5 years ago, including managers in oil companies, as part of a deal to release two of the president's relatives. Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro, they were arrested in the United States on drug smuggling charges.
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