Washington, DC – the National Iranian American Council issued the following statement upon news that the U.S. and Iran had finalized a prisoner swap freeing five Iranian-American dual nationals:
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“Today is a day to be thankful that five Iranian-American families have been made whole again following horrific ordeals. Our thoughts are with the Namazi, Shargi and Tahbaz families – as well as the unnamed individuals released from Iran – as they begin to recover. Nobody can restore the time robbed from them by the Iranian government, but we hope that they can begin to heal.
“The release of these wrongfully detained Iranian Americans is a win-win. Americans are coming home and Iran’s own money is being directed to medicine and food purchases that can benefit ordinary Iranians. Now, there will be pressure on the Iranian government to deliver.
“It is disappointing but predictable that the swap process has been politicized so extensively by critics who oppose diplomacy on principle but offer no solutions in its stead. It is a fact that Donald Trump’s administration engaged in an almost identical process to free Americans. After each of the two prisoner exchanges under his watch, Iranian assets were freed for purchase of humanitarian goods under the Swiss. Rather than ignore this history to engage in baseless and divisive political attacks, there are urgent issues that should be debated soberly. There are policies that must be considered to advance human rights and truly stand with the people of Iran one year after the start of the Woman, Life, Freedom protest movement. There are diplomatic efforts that must proceed to address Iran’s expanding nuclear program in lieu of a nuclear agreement.
“President Biden deserves credit for listening to the calls of Iranian Americans unjustly imprisoned in Iran and doing what needed to be done to get them to safety. The U.S. diplomats who pursued this swap, and the parties that supported it including Switzerland and Qatar – deserve tremendous credit for seeing it through. We encourage the parties to build on this tentative progress and find additional ways to deescalate the myriad crises afflicting US – Iran relations and hurting ordinary people on both sides.”