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5 Americans freed in Iran prisoner swap after years of captivity

Tracy Wilkinson and Courtney Subramanian, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

“The administration is demonstrating weakness that only further endangers Americans and freedom-loving people around the world,” McCaul said in a statement.

Administration officials acknowledge that the deal has involved what they called tough choices.

“When it comes to getting Americans out of jail and back home (who have been) unjustly detained anywhere in the world, I’m happy to take any criticism that comes my way,” Blinken said last week. “We are willing to make hard decisions to make that happen.”

On Monday, Blinken warned that “there is no way to guarantee a similar result for other Americans who decide to travel to Iran despite the U.S. government’s longstanding warning against doing so.”

Blinken said he had an “emotional” telephone conversation with the released Americans when they landed in Doha.

“It’s a day I’m grateful for,” he said in New York, adding that families “can hug each other again.”


“We will take steps every day to make this practice (of wrongfully detaining Americans) more difficult, more of a burden,” he said, adding it is an issue he will raise during the U.N. General Assembly meetings this week.

Blinken said the release and negotiations leading to it will have no impact on the broader, fraught U.S.-Iran relationship.

The money transfer has been complex. South Korea insisted it be executed in tranches so as not to affect its own economy. Blinken earlier this month signed waivers to reassure international banks they could handle the money without risk of incurring sanctions or penalties.

Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, has nevertheless raised doubts about how his country will use the money, despite the stated U.S.-imposed restrictions.


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