Americans released by Iran arrive home

Americans released by Iran arrive home

Americans released by Iran arrive home

WASHINGTON — Americans detained for years in Iran arrived home Tuesday, tearfully hugged their loved ones and declared “Freedom!” after being let go as part of a politically risky deal that saw President Joe Biden agree to the release of nearly $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets.

Maginnis, Robert (FRC) Maginnis

"I celebrate that five Americans have freedom, but it also puts a mark on the back of every American in that region. All the mullahs of Iran have to do is take some of us into captivity, and in the future they'll get more billions of dollars. That's the wrong message – and it's bad policy."

"The Iranians … will use [the unfrozen assets] for things that are already in the budget … and then loosen up $6 billion other dollars so they can invest elsewhere [such as their nuclear program]. It's just a movement of these pawns across the chessboard that will facilitate arguably more terrorism, more threats against Israel, more threats against U.S. interests abroad."

Bob Maginnis
National security expert
(in an interview with Washington Watch)

The prisoners landed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, with clapping and cheers heard in the predawn hours. Siamak Namazi, the first off the jet, paused for a moment, closed his eyes and took a deep breath before leaving the plane. Loved ones, some holding small American flags, enveloped them in hugs and exchanged greetings in English and Farsi, the main language of Iran.

“The nightmare is finally over,” Namazi’s brother, Babak, said at the airport.

“We haven’t had this moment is over eight years,” he added, his arm around his brother and his formerly detained father, Baquer, who had been earlier released by Iran. “It’s unbelievable.”

The former prisoners later posed for a group photograph with their families, calling out: “Freedom!”

The successful negotiations for the Americans' freedom brought Biden profuse thanks from their families but heat from Republican presidential rivals and other opponents for the monetary arrangement with one of America's top adversaries.

“Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home,” the Democratic president said in a statement released as the plane carrying the group from Tehran landed in Doha, Qatar, on Monday.