Biden administration expect the release of five Americans detained in Iran

WASHINGTON — Biden administration officials expect the release soon of five Americans detained in Iran after the State Department notified Congress that the Iranians will be given access to $6 billion in funds that have been frozen in foreign accounts, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed a memo that would allow the transfer of $6 billion from a bank in South Korea to another in Qatar of funds the Iranians earned through the sale of oil and other goods that had been under sanctions. None of the money comes from U.S. taxpayers and is not a ransom payment, according to the official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The administration notified Congress Monday of the transfer as a planned step in obtaining the release of the Americans, the official said. Iran can use the funds only for humanitarian purposes with oversight provided by the U.S. Treasury, Qatar and aid organizations. If Iran cheats, the funds will be frozen, the official said.

The Americans are reported to be in good health, considering their circumstances, according to Swiss official who have met with them, the official said. Their release is expected to occur soon, but the official declined to specify when.

The detained individuals include Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz, and two Americans whose families don’t want their identities made public, according to the National Security Council.

The deal also includes the release of Iranians detained in the United States.

Did deeper: US negotiates to free five ‘unjustly detained’ Americans. Here’s what Tehran might get.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US expects release of five Americans detained in Iran

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