Despite the deal, tensions are almost certain to remain high between the U.S. and Iran, which are locked in various disputes, including over Tehran's nuclear program. Iran says the program is peaceful, but it now enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.
The planned exchange has unfolded amid a major American military buildup in the Persian Gulf, with the possibility of U.S. troops boarding and guarding commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of all oil shipments pass.
“Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home,” President Joe Biden said in a statement released as the plane carrying the group from Tehran landed in Doha, qatar.
After the plane slowed to a stop, three of the prisoners walked down the ramp and were greeted by the U.S. ambassador to Qatar, Timmy Davis. The former prisoners hugged the ambassador and others.
The three — Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz — then wrapped their arms around their shoulders and walked off to a building in the airport.
In a statement issued on his behalf, Namazi said: “I would not be free today, if it wasn't for all of you who didn't allow the world to forget me.”
“Thank you for being my voice when I…