- The Biden administration has signed a deal with Iran to release five Iranian nationals and send $6 billion in exchange for five American prisoners.
- The five Iranian nationals have been arrested for a number of high-level crimes, including espionage, conspiracy, theft, and illegally obtaining military equipment and information on behalf of Iran.
- The deal was described as a “random” payment by critics who fear it will embolden Iran to act more aggressively against the United States and take more Americans hostage for further payments. It’s been criticized.
Five Iranians reportedly set to be released by the Biden administration as part of an exchange agreement have been arrested on a number of high-level crimes that benefit Iran, a state sponsor of international terrorism, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The Biden administration on Monday completed a deal with Iran to release five American prisoners in exchange for the transfer of $6 billion in previously frozen assets and the release of five Iranians. according to To the Associated Press. The five Iranians had previously been arrested for numerous crimes, including espionage, conspiracy, theft and illegally obtaining military equipment and information on behalf of Iran. (Related: Trump slams ‘incompetent’ Biden over $6 billion Iranian hostage trade)
Mehrdad Ansari, a 40-year-old Iranian national who resides in the United Arab Emirates and Germany, will be sentenced to 63 months in prison in 2021 for acquiring nuclear weapons, missile development, secure tactical radio communications, and military equipment capable of use in attacks. was sentenced. electronic warfare and surveillance systems; according to to the Department of Justice. Possession of such devices is a violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, and the Justice Department found that Mr. Ansari lied to U.S. suppliers multiple times to obtain them.
Iran’s prison exchange underway. “This is a deal we can get,” Biden said.
Agreement – US gains 5 prisoners. Iran gets 5 prisoners and $6 billion. pic.twitter.com/FYYGF552Ik
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) September 18, 2023
Iranian nationalist and political scientist Kaveh Lotfollah Afrasiabi was charged with conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Iranian government and attempting to spread propaganda on Iran’s behalf to “Congress, journalists, and the American people.” He was indicted in 2021. according to to the Department of Justice. After the death of Qasem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in 2020, Afrasiabi sent an email to Iran’s foreign minister insisting that the country “adopt a nuclear policy that strikes fear into the hearts of the people.” did” [the] enemy. “
“Mr. Afrasiabi is accused of disguising his propaganda as objective policy analysis and expertise in an attempt to influence the American public and American policymakers for the benefit of his employer, the Iranian government.” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth Ducharme in a statement.
Amin Hasanzadeh, an Iranian national and resident of the United States, was charged by prosecutors in 2021 with stealing technical data from an anonymous employer related to the “cruise division of the Iranian government’s aerospace agency.” Real-time supercomputers with applications including aerospace applications.” according to Go to NPR. Hasanzadeh, who previously served in the Iranian military, will send the stolen data back to his brother in Iran, who himself has ties to the Iranian military.
Reza Sarhanpour Khafrani, a 46-year-old Iranian national, was indicted by a grand jury in 2021 on charges of illegally exporting laboratory equipment to Iran and money laundering. according to to the Department of Justice. Mr. Khafrani, who was living in Montreal at the time, had operations in the United States and was working with a number of American and Canadian companies to ship equipment back to Iran. (Related: ‘No progress’ in nuclear talks with Iran as it slowly increases uranium stockpile: report)
According to the Justice Department, Mr. Khafrani told one of the Canadian companies that he intended to ship equipment to Iran, but the company responded, “You know there are sanctions against Iran.” It is said that he responded. Kafulani was unable to complete the purchase and had to look elsewhere for equipment.
Kambiz Athar Kashani, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for illegally exporting U.S. technology and products to end-users in Iran. according to to the Department of Justice. One end user to whom Mr. Kashani sent the technology was the Central Bank of Iran, which has supported Lebanese Hezbollah, a designated terrorist organization, and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.
The Biden administration released five Iranians and $6 billion in previously frozen assets on the condition that the funds be used only for humanitarian needs, but Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi last week It said it had “authority” to use the funds.anywhere [they] i need it “
The deal has been denounced as a “ransom” payment by critics, who say it is likely to lead Iran to take more aggressive actions against the United States..
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
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