(Bloomberg) — Iran is believed to have moved four US citizens from prison to house arrest, a lawyer for one of the prisoners said, in a move that would clear the way for their eventual release and may be part of a broader diplomatic effort between Tehran and Washington.
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Three US citizens — Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, and Morad Tahbaz — were taken from Evin Prison, Jared Genser, a lawyer for Namazi, said in a statement. A fourth who wasn’t identified was also believed to be with them, he said.
“The move by Iran of the American hostages from Evin Prison to an expected house arrest is an important development,” said Jared Genser, pro bono counsel to Siamak Namazi. “While I hope this will be the first step to their ultimate release, this is at best the beginning of the end and nothing more. But there are simply no guarantees about what happens from here,” he added.
Genser said the Biden administration had told the families on Wednesday that they would be moved. The US National Security Council declined to comment.
The US and Iran have been engaged in talks for months that have seen them inch toward an informal understanding under which Tehran would free the Americans and potentially impose limits on its nuclear program.
US, Iran Inch Toward Understanding Aimed at Easing Tensions
Those negotiations — conducted through intermediaries in Oman and elsewhere — led to an initial understanding for Iran to release prisoners while the US would allow for the release of more than $6 billion in frozen funds that South Korea owes to Iran for oil purchases, Bloomberg News reported previously.
(Updates with confirmation of statement from Namazi’s lawyer.)
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