On the tenth of August 2023, Tehran and Washington announced an agreement to exchange prisoners from both sides in exchange for the release of $ 6 billion of Iranian assets frozen in South Korea, to be transferred to Iranian accounts in the State of Qatar. The deal included the release of Iranian-American prisoners from Iran and the release of Iranian prisoners from U.S. prisons.

U.S. Prisoners in Iranian Prisons

Siamak Namazi

Siamak Namazi was born on September 14, 1971 in Iran, and his father, Mohammad Bagher Namazi, was a diplomat under the Shah's regime. After the victory of the Iranian revolution, the Namazi family left for the United States and became American citizenship.

Siamak Namazi co-founded Atya Bahar and took over the strategic planning department of the oil company Crescent.

In 2015, the Iranian-American businessman made a working visit to the Islamic Republic, where he was arrested by Iranian security forces and sentenced to 10 years in prison in October 2016 on charges of working for an "enemy country," a reference to the United States.

Namazi was tried in Iran along with his father, Mohammad Bagher Namazi, a former official of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), after Tehran arrested him in February 2016 after visiting the country to demand his son's release. However, Namazi was pardoned in 2020 on health grounds, before Iran allowed him to leave for the United States in October 2022 for treatment.

Siamak Jr. has been in Evin prison north of Tehran for more than 7 and a half years and is the oldest American detained in Iran until August 2023.

Siamak Namazi (Reuters)

Emad Sharqi

Born in 1965 in Iran, Imad Sharqi, an Iranian-American citizen grew up in the United States and graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in economics, then discussed his master's thesis at George Washington University, which served as a springboard for his economic activity before moving to the United Arab Emirates as Assistant Director for International Affairs at the Iranian investment company Sarava.

Emad Sharqi was first arrested in May 2018 after entering Iran, and an Iranian court sentenced him to 10 years in prison for "espionage and gathering military information," then released on bail eight months later pending appeal.

According to Iranian state media reports, Iranian security forces seized military documents about the manufacture of Iranian helicopters in Sharqi's possession at the moment of his arrest.

In January 2021, an Iranian court convicted Sharqi of espionage and treason, two days before US President Joe Biden took office. Tehran announced at the time that its security forces had arrested Sharqi when he was trying to escape and cross the border in the northwest of the country illegally.

Murad Tahbaz

Born in 1955 in London, his father, Qasim Tahbaz, was an Iranian Jew and a member of the Iranian Senate during the former Pahlavi regime.

Murad Tahbaz holds Iranian, American and British citizenship, and besides trade he is known for his environmental protection activity in Iran, having contributed to the establishment of the Parsian Wildlife Heritage Foundation and remained a prominent member of its board of directors until the moment of his arrest.

IRGC intelligence arrested him in January 2018, along with seven colleagues at the Parsian Heritage Foundation, on charges of "espionage and collecting secret data on strategic and military areas and institutions under the cover of environmental activity."

Roxanne Tahbaz holds a picture of her father Murad Tahbaz on April 13, 2022 in London (Getty Images)

He was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring with the United States and harming Iran's national security, but the case of the environmental activists group sparked sympathy from the Iranian public, especially after the suicide of academic director of the Parsian Heritage Foundation Seyed Kavous Seyed Emami in Evin prison, which led to the temporary release of Murad Tahbaz.

After the cell members were again convicted, on February 18, 2020, an Iranian court handed down varying prison sentences to the members of the cell, which became known as the "Environment Cell", with Mourad Tahbaz sentenced to 8 years in prison on charges of spying for the United States.

The Iranian and U.S. sides declined to name two other prisoners released at the request of their families.

Iranian Prisoners in U.S. Prisons

Mehrdad Moeen Ansari

An Iranian citizen who resided in the United Arab Emirates and Germany, was arrested by Georgian authorities in 2020 and handed over to the US administration, which sentenced him in September 2021 to about 5 years in prison on charges of circumventing sanctions.

Moaini entered Louisiana prison to serve his sentence after being convicted of working to deliver advanced equipment to Iran that could be used to make missiles, nuclear weapons, electronic warfare and surveillance devices such as cameras.

Campese Attar Kashani

Campese Attar Kashani holds dual Iranian and American citizenship, and was sentenced by a US court in Brooklyn, New York, to 30 months in prison for circumventing US sanctions.

In February 2022, Kashan was convicted of working to purchase state-of-the-art electronic equipment and software from U.S. industries after registering two shell companies in the UAE to facilitate the illegal export of equipment to Iran, particularly to the Central Bank of Iran, without obtaining a license from the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

"During the period from February 2019 to June 2021, the defendant, accompanied by a number of his colleagues, delivered electronic goods and technologies to Iranian government institutions through two companies in the UAE," a previous statement by the US Department of Justice said.

Ridha Sarhang Burkafrani

An Iranian national who resided in Montreal, Canada, before the United States accused him in July 2021 of illegally exporting laboratory equipment to his country.

A court in Columbia, the capital of the US state of South Carolina, charged Burkfarani with the export of laboratory equipment usable in nuclear activities with the help of his colleague, "Seyed Reza Mir Nizami", as well as involvement in money laundering operations in order to provide the necessary expenses for the purchase of such equipment.

In 2016, Burkfarani successfully purchased laboratory equipment from a U.S. company worth $111,2016 and transported it to Canada, then to the United Arab Emirates and eventually reached Iran in <>, the indictment said.

Amin Hassanzadeh

He is an Iranian engineer who worked in Tehran's missile program before residing in the United States in 2010, where he obtained permanent residency after concealing information about his career inside Iran and his ties to the military.

Hassanzadeh was convicted in December 2020 of stealing technical data for the U.S. aerospace program from a company he worked for between 2015 and 2016 and sending it to his brother Sina, who was a colleague in Iran's military industries.

"Investigations into Amin Hassanzadeh's correspondence with circles inside the Islamic Republic show that he sent maps and classified information via private email, leading to him becoming an inmate at the Michigan jail," the US reports say.

Iranian university professor Kaveh Lotfollah Afrasiabi (Iranian Press)

Kawa Lutfullah Afrasiabi

An Iranian academic who worked as a professor of political science at Boston University. He was arrested in January 2021 on charges of violating the Foreign Country Agents Registration Act after obtaining permanent residency in the United States.

According to media reports, Afrasiabi was receiving a salary from the Iranian Permanent Mission to the United Nations from 2007 until the moment of his arrest in 2021 in exchange for promoting Tehran's positions and propaganda for the Islamic Republic in American circles, and was in contact with a congressman and parties in the US State Department.

The US Department of Justice accused him on May 2021, 2007, of "working for the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United States since <>," but he rejected the charge as "false" and placed him under house arrest pending subsequent trial hearings.