U.S.-IRAN relations: will the US and Iran exchange prisoners?

WASHINGTON / TEHRAN – Ahead of the upcoming November 3 U.S. presidential elections, U.S. President Donald Trump would have (secretly) agreed to enter into an exchange of prisoners with the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the Middle East Monitor, Iranian media say that the exchange would include the release of a large amount of Iranian’s funds (USD 7 billion) frozen in the U.S. President Trump is said to have agreed to the deal to bring prisoner home to increase his popularity ahead of the upcoming elections.

The news site named Iranian-American prisoners for alleged espionage which would be part of the deal; Morad Tahbaz (sentenced to 10 years), Siamak Namazi (accused of spying), and the Iranian-American businessman Baqir Namazi and his son. They would be exchanged for three Iranians arrested in Thailand on charges of carrying out operations against Israel.

It is not uncommon for countries to use politically motivated imprisonments of foreign nationals as a bargaining tool. The U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Iran have exchanged prisoners on earlier occasions.