Tehran-Washington prisoner swap has been accomplished as part of an agreement between the two sides that sees a part of confiscated Iranian assets in South Korea unfrozen. Qatar’s mediating role has been appreciated by the two sides after the accomplishment.
Qatari Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has spoken over the phone with President of the United States. Joe Biden has hailed the emir of the Gulf country for his assistance in arranging a historic prisoner exchange agreement with Tehran.
In an announcement released on yesterday, the emir’s office stated that Biden praised Doha for its “active and constructive” endeavors in world politics.
Days before to the phone chat, Tehran and the United States swapped five convicts detained in each other’s respective jail systems. It was a component of an agreement that also saw $6 billion in Iranian cash unfrozen.
The contract was made in the midst of hostilities between the US and Iran following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from a JCPOA five years ago. On September 18, a flight brought five US nationals who had been previously arrested by Tehran to Doha. Additionally, the US freed five Iranian inmates.
Later, US president said that the exchange agreement had ended “years of agony, uncertainty, and suffering” for individuals who were being held.
Prisoner Swap under Strained Ties
But there are few indications that the tense relationship between Washington and Tehran will soon improve. After years of vying for dominance in the region, Iran and US ally Saudi Arabia are now taking cautious moves to defuse tensions.
The original nuclear agreement, referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has not been revived despite several rounds of indirect talks. According to the nuclear agreement, Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear ambitions in return for the lifting of American sanctions.
Other occurrences, such as the purported transfer of drones to Russia in aid of that country’s conflict in Ukraine and the alleged capture of oil ships in the Strait of Hormuz, have also harmed ties.
In the US, the inmate swap was equally divisive politically. It is being criticized as a capitulation to Iran by more hardline members of Congress.
The Biden administration supported the deal, stating that it permitted the repatriation of individuals who, in the US opinion, had been wrongly incarcerated in Iran. Nonetheless, part of the novel Biden’s approach to Iran is believed to be the under the effect of an upcoming election in 2024.
Adopting moderate, while secret, policies on Iran aims at satisfying more groups in American society while foiling any potential tension in the Middle East. While putting China as the first priority of foreign policy, Joe Biden clearly knows that the developments in the Middle East will directly impact the public opinion about his foreign involvements.