Sep. 18, 2023

Inside story: Iran, US swap prisoners in Qatar as Raisi arrives in New York


Iran and the US are tentatively set to exchange prisoners in Qatar at 2 pm local time on Sept. 18, has learned. In the absence of a last-minute hiccup, the swap will take place as Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi arrives in New York, where he is slated to address the United Nations General Assembly. Informed sources say the Qatari ambassador to Tehran will accompany the five Iranian-Americans due to be released, escorting them to Doha on a plane owned by the wealthy Gulf Arab state.

This comes as Iran’s previously frozen assets in South Korea have been fully transferred to Qatar via the Swiss central bank—where they will be made available for non-sanctionable trade—setting the stage for Tehran and Washington to proceed with the long-awaited prisoner swap. The deal was agreed last month after extensive negotiations which dragged out for more than a year.


Novel arrangements

As has previously exclusively reported, the choice of Doha as the venue for the prisoner exchange—in a nod to the crucial Qatari role in facilitating the deal—is a novelty in the history of...

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