Biden grants clemency to Iranians as US confirms prisoner swap

On Monday, the United States acknowledged a prisoner exchange with Iran and said that President Joe Biden had pardoned five Iranians who were detained or awaiting trial for non-violent offences.

According to a US official, Biden would also slap further penalties on Iran’s intelligence ministry and former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in addition to making the politically hazardous action.

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Both Namazi’s mother and Sharqi’s wife, US citizens who were prohibited from leaving Iran but weren’t imprisoned, are also traveling on the plane.

Tehran, which does not recognize dual nationality, regards them all as citizens because they are all of Iranian ancestry.

The US official claimed that by making the politically hazardous decision, Joe Biden was also placing further sanctions on the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian intelligence service.

The sanctions were put in place due to allegations of lying about Bob Levinson’s disappearance in Iran. Levinson, a former FBI agent, vanished there under strange circumstances and is now believed to be dead.

“The United States will never give up on Bob Levinson’s case. We call on the Iranian regime to give a full account of what happened to Bob Levinson,” a senior US official said on condition of anonymity.

Levinson had travelled to the Iranian island of Kish on a CIA mission. Iran has not acknowledged his arrest.

The five Iranians who were given mercy, according to the US official, were all accused of or found guilty of nonviolent crimes. According to the official, three people were still awaiting trial and two were already in prison with one’s term about to expire.

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