Iranian Prisoners Released by Washington: Identities and Charges Revealed

2023-09-12 22:24:40

The Iranians who will be released by Washington… who are they and what are the charges against them?

On Tuesday evening, the Iranian mission to the United Nations revealed the identities of the five Iranian prisoners whom the United States of America is scheduled to release in exchange for Tehran’s release of a similar number of American prisoners of Iranian origin, as part of a deal reached by the two parties with Qatari mediation last month. It also includes the release of $6 billion in frozen Iranian balances in South Korea.

The mission said, according to what was reported by the official IRNA agency, that the five Iranians will be released soon, and a number of them will remain in the United States, and others will return to Tehran, without specifying the number of those who will return.

Regarding the Qatari role in the deal, a previous report by Reuters said that Doha played a pivotal role during the negotiations between the two arch-rivals, noting that it hosted eight rounds of talks in which negotiators from the American and Iranian sides participated. They were staying in different hotels and indirect negotiations took place between them. Through national mediation. The report revealed that the first rounds of talks mainly included the thorny nuclear file, before finally focusing on the exchange of prisoners.

The five Iranians are: Lotfollah Kaveh Afrasiabi, Mehrdad Moin Ansari, Reza Sarhank Pour Kafarani, Amin Hassanzadeh, and Kambiz Attar Kashani.

The disclosure of the names of the Iranians included in the exchange deal with Washington comes at a time when the Iranian ambassador to Qatar, Hamid Reza Dehghani Bodeh, said yesterday, Tuesday, during a meeting held with the Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Muhammad Al-Khulaifi, that “the implementation of the exchange deal with the United States is in its final stages.” He thanked the State of Qatar for its role in concluding this agreement.

On August 11, the United States and Iran reached an agreement, through Qatari and Omani mediation that lasted two years, to release five Americans detained in Iran, in exchange for the release of five Iranians imprisoned in the United States, on charges of helping Tehran evade American sanctions. And the release of $6 billion in Iranian assets frozen in South Korea.

Lotfallah Kaveh Afrasiabi

A professor at Boston University who taught political science, and previously obtained permanent residency in the United States. The American authorities arrested him on January 19, 2021 at his home in Watertown on charges of promoting Iranian positions and policies and violating the “Foreign Agents Registration” law, noting that Afrasiabi did not register his name as an agent on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The arrest of this Iranian citizen came after the previous US administration headed by Donald Trump intensified its pressure on Tehran to include those promoting its positions in the United States of America.

The Federal Court in Boston held a trial session for Afrasiabi on May 4, 2021, charging him with the aforementioned charges, but he rejected them and considered them “invalid.”

At the time, Assistant US Attorney General John Demers said that Afrasiabi had introduced himself to Congress, journalists, and the American people as a neutral and fair expert on Iran, adding that this happened while he was “a secret employee of the Iranian government and the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic to the United Nations, and was receiving money.” To advertise for them.

In a statement, the US Department of Justice accused Afrasiabi of working for the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United States since 2007. Other American reports also accused him of being an advisor to the Iranian negotiating team from 2004 to 2005 regarding the nuclear agreement.

In the lawsuit filed against him, the American judiciary also accused him of receiving $265,000 from the Iranian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, in addition to having been using the mission’s employees’ insurance in New York since 2011, noting that he was also in a relationship with a representative in the US Congress and the US State Department.

It was also said that one of his emails to former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested revenge for the killing of the former Quds Force commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani, in an American air strike in Baghdad on the third of 2020, also calling for a halt to all UN inspections at nuclear sites. Iranian.

Afrasiabi was awaiting subsequent trial sessions, and the American court placed him under house arrest. Including his name in the exchange deal with Tehran may mean canceling the charges against him and ending the restriction of his movement.

Mehrdad Moin Ansari

He was sentenced to 63 months in prison in the United States of America in 2021 on charges of circumventing US sanctions against Iran by obtaining equipment that could be used in missiles, electronic warfare, nuclear weapons, and other military equipment.

Ansari (42 years old) was residing in the UAE and Germany, before the Georgian authorities arrested him and handed him over to the US administration in 2020.

The US Department of Justice accused Ansari of obtaining, along with another Iranian citizen named Mehrdad Fomani and Taiwanese citizen Susan Yip, 105,000 dual-use items worth $2,680,800 for the Iranian government in 2012, noting that these rates could be used in nuclear weapons and the development of the Iranian missile program. Surveillance devices such as cameras.

The three conducted more than 1,250 commercial transactions to obtain these parts, including 599 commercial transactions with 63 American companies. Fomini remained under American prosecution, while Yip was sentenced to two years in prison in 2012.

Ansari is currently serving his prison sentence in a Louisiana prison, awaiting release to return to Iran.

Amin Hassanzadeh

An Iranian engineer, he has lived in the United States since 2010, where he has permanent residency. He faced charges in 2019 of stealing “secret technical engineering plans and data from a supercomputer for the American aerospace industry” from a company where he worked from January 2015 to June 2016, and sending them to his brother, who works in the military and aerospace industries in Iran.

The American authorities arrested him in the same year in Detroit, Michigan. According to American investigations, he stole those documents and information six days after working for the company, according to the indictment of the US Public Prosecution in Detroit.

The American authorities announced that Hassanzadeh was using a private e-mail to send this information to his brother, Sina Hasanzadeh, and other people in Iran, noting that investigations into the e-mails sent showed that he sent various maps and plans.

According to the American authorities, Hassanzadeh was preparing to work for the Detroit Metrorail Company, whose data was targeted by Hassanzadeh’s brother, who US Federal Police investigators in the city say.

American prosecutors said that before residing in the United States of America, Amin Hassanzadeh worked in a cruise missile unit in Iran, and accused him of concealing this information while submitting his application for an American visa.

This Iranian citizen is currently serving his sentence in a Michigan prison awaiting his release as part of an exchange deal to return to Iran.

Reza Sarhank Pour Kafrani

Another Iranian was charged by US authorities in 2021 with illegally exporting laboratory equipment usable in nuclear activities to Iran in 2015.

This 48-year-old Iranian citizen lived in Canada before a US court in Columbia, Washington, brought these charges against him. The court said that Sarhangpour Kafrani violated US export laws regarding economic powers related to international circumstances, also accusing him of not providing sufficient information regarding the export of goods and of money laundering.

His colleague Reza Mirzamani at Profile Global Limited faced the same charges. The indictment stated that, in 2016, Sarhangpour Kafarani had succeeded in purchasing laboratory equipment from an American company worth $111,000 and transporting it to Canada, then to the Emirates, until it finally arrived in Iran in 2016.

Sarhank Pour Kafrani was waiting for the trial session, but including him in the exchange deal apparently means dropping the charges against him and ending the restrictions on his movement outside his home.

Kambyz Attar Kashani

An Iranian holding American citizenship was sentenced last February to 30 months in prison and paid a fine of $50,000, after being convicted of purchasing advanced, high-quality American electronic equipment and software through two shell companies in the Emirates.

A federal court in Brooklyn, New York, accused Attar Kashani of circumventing US sanctions and “conspiracy” to illegally export electronic goods and digital technology to Iran.

The court added that the Iranian government was one of the customers of the electronic goods and technologies that Attar Kashani was going to sell “secretly.”

According to a previous statement by the US Department of Justice, between February 2019 and June 2021, this Iranian-American citizen, along with his colleagues, delivered electronic goods and technologies to Iranian government institutions through two companies in the Emirates.

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