Posted by on September 18, 2023 7:40 pm
Categories: News The Hill

Iran prisoner swap moves forward

Welcome to The Hill’s Defense & NatSec newsletter

Defense &
National Security

Defense &
National Security


The Big Story 

Five Americans released in Iran prisoner swap

The Americans were released Monday in exchange for the Biden administration granting clemency to five Iranians and unlocking $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds.

© AP Photo/Lujain Jo

Five American citizens wrongfully imprisoned and two family members who have been banned from traveling from Iran boarded a Qatari plane en route for Doha early Monday, according to a senior administration official. They will then travel to Washington to reunite with families.


The citizens include Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi and two unidentified Americans who have wished to remain private. Additionally, the mother of Namazi and the wife of Tahbaz, both of whom have not been able to leave Iran, were also set to be on the plane.


Five Iranians who were convicted or charged with nonviolent crimes will be freed in the exchange, the official said. Two of the Iranians who do not have legal status in the U.S. will return to Doha. 


The U.S is also moving $6 billion of Iranian funds frozen in South Korea to a Qatari bank as part of the deal. The funds will be available for Iran on a limited use and only for humanitarian transactions such as food, medicine and agricultural products.


“These are Iranian funds, payments made by South Korea to Iran for purchases of oil years ago, including during the last administration,” an official said. “These funds will be available only for transactions for humanitarian goods with vetted third party non-Iranian venders.”


If Iran tries to divert the funds or use them for another use other than humanitarian purchases, “we will take action to lock up the funds,” the official added.


The administration has received pushback for the deal, with Republicans expressing “deep concern” about potential threats to national security from the agreement.


“This has been a process that has been going on for a very difficult negotiation really over a period of years,” the official said, adding that some offers during negotiations were “flat out rejected” by the Biden administration.


A new set of sanctions against actors in Iran will also be issued Monday.


Read the full report at

Welcome to The Hill’s Defense & National Security newsletter, I’m Ellen Mitchell — your guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond.

Did someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Essential Reads 

How policy will affect defense and national security now and in
the future:

The Marine Corps issued a service-wide stand-down order Monday for all aviation units inside and outside the country after an F-35B fighter jet disappeared over South Carolina. Marine Corps acting Commandant Gen. Eric Smith ordered the two-day pause following three aviation “mishaps” in less than two months — including the disappearance an F-35 fighter jet Sunday.  The advanced $80 million jet went missing after its pilot “safely …

Republican lawmakers are mocking the Biden administration after a pilot ejected from an F-35 on Sunday and sent the military scrambling to find the fighter jet in South Carolina. “How on earth did the Biden Administration lose track of an $80 million F-35 jet?” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “What else are they losing?” The pilot is safe, but the jet is still missing …

Army Gen. Mark Milley pushed back on claims from Republicans that the military is “woke” and as a result not prepared to take on modern threats, saying he’s “not even sure what that word truly means.” “What I see is a military that’s exceptionally strong. It’s powerful; it’s ready. In fact, our readiness rates, the way we measure readiness, is better now than they’ve been in years,” Milley said in a …

Army Gen. Mark Milley said a quick outcome to the war in Ukraine is unlikely, noting that a Ukrainian victory in the conflict is a “very high bar” and would take a “very long time.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has resisted negotiating a peace with Russia since the country’s invasion began more than a year and a half ago, citing unserious terms from Moscow. He said the best outcome would be to remove Russia from all …

On Our Radar 

Upcoming things we’re watching on our beat: 

President Biden will address the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City tomorrow.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley will hold a news conference after the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base tomorrow at 4 a.m. in Ramstein, Germany.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George will speak tomorrow at the Association of the U.S. Army’s “Landpower Dialogue” at 10 a.m.

In Other News 

Branch out with a different read from The Hill:

US surpasses 500 mass shootings in 2023: Gun Violence Archive

The United States’s 500th mass shooting of 2023 occurred over the weekend, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. As of Sunday, the Gun Violence Archive reported 501 mass shootings so far in 2023, after a Saturday night shooting in Denver marked the 500th mass shooting of the year.  …

On Tap Tomorrow 

Events in and around the defense world: 

The American Enterprise Institute will host a discussion on “The Future of Defense for the U.K. and Its Allies,” with United Kingdom Shadow Defense Secretary John Healey and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) at 8:30 a.m.

The German Marshall Fund of the U.S. will have a virtual talk on “The Impact of the War in Ukraine on the Political Situation in Belarus: Three Short-Term Scenarios” at 9 a.m.

Brookings Institution will discussHomeland security and the current threat environment,” with Kenneth Wainstein, Department of Homeland Security undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, at 10 a.m.

The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on “Defense Cooperation with Taiwan,” with testimony from Ely Ratner, assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs, and other officials, at 10:35 a.m.

The House Administration Committee will have a hearing on “Oversight of U.S. Capitol Security: Assessing Security Failures on January 6, 2021,” at 3 p.m.  

What We’re Reading 

News we’ve flagged from other outlets:

Legal claims over Red Hill water contamination balloon to 4,600 as November filing deadline looms (

Zelensky cleans house in corruption-plagued defense ministry (The New York Times)

Trending Today 

Two key stories on The Hill right now:

House Republicans’ proposed short-term spending bill is facing internal opposition that could sink the measure and complicate the conference’s … Read more

Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Colo.) Democratic challenger criticized her Sunday for the behavior that got her thrown out of a performance of “Beetlejuice” … Read more

Opinions in The Hill 

Op-eds related to defense & national security submitted to The Hill:

You’re all caught up. See you tomorrow! 

Just In News | The Hill Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *