Wednesday, October 4, 2023

U.S.-Iran prisoner deal highlights plight of other foreign detainees

A potential prisoner swap between the United States and Iran — which “remains on track,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters this week — has renewed attention on the plight of other prisoners in Iran with Western passports who advocates say are being detained as bargaining chips.


As an initial step in the emerging deal, a rare bright spot in U.S.-Iran relations, four Americans were moved from the harsh conditions of Iran’s Evin Prison to house arrest. The final exchange, which remains in process, is set to include the release of five Iranian prisoners in the United States and the freeing of $6 billion of oil revenue held in South Korea under U.S. sanctions, to be used for humanitarian purposes, those familiar with the talks said this month.

Iran, U.S. advance deal to swap prisoners, free oil funds

As the deal takes shape, the families and supporters of other foreigners detained in Iran, many on charges that advocates and activists describe as spurious and ploys to create diplomatic leverage, have urged that their cases remain in the public eye.


“The Islamic regime is targeting a certain group of people, individuals with foreign citizenship, in a systematic way,” said Gazelle Sharmahd, whose father, Jamshid Sharmahd, an Iranian German citizen and U.S. permanent resident who ran a radio show that aired criticism of Iran’s government, is on death row in Iran, on charges in connection with accusations of terrorism. “My father thinks only the U.S. government can get him out.”…