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Iran reveals names of 5 citizens sought in US prisoner deal

Washington and Tehran are on the verge of a deal that would see the exchange of five Americans for five Iranians, most of whom were accused or convicted of sanctions violations.
A general view shows the Iranian capital Tehran on January 7, 2023, with the Iranian flag fluttering in the wind. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Of the individuals Iran is seeking in an exchange with the United States, four were charged with sanctions violations and a fifth with acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Iran, according to a list of names provided by the country’s mission to the United Nations. 

The individuals are Mehrdad Moein Ansari, Kambiz Attar Kashani, Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani, Amin Hasanzadeh and Kaveh Afrasiabi, the Iranian mission told Al-Monitor. 

A mutual release of prisoners held by the longtime adversaries is expected once more than $6 billion in Iranian funds is transferred from South Korea, where they were frozen under US sanctions, to an account in Qatar. US officials say Iran could only use the unblocked funds for humanitarian purchases like food and medicine. 

The Biden administration informed Congress on Monday that it had issued a waiver for international banks to handle the funds without running afoul of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The Associated Press first reported on the notification to lawmakers.

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