US prisoner released in swap knows the first thing he’s doing when he gets home

One of the Americans freed from an Iranian prison Monday expressed excitement at the opportunity to get his hands on a new iPhone after spending eight years in captivity.

Siamak Namazi, one of the five Americans who were released from an Iranian prison on Monday, released a statement saying that it may take him a while to get “reacquainted with liberty” and confront health issues from his time in prison, but he also expressed excitement for the opportunities that will be presented by his newfound freedom.

“I want to see foliage instead of walls and wardens. I want to lay back on the grass, with the warm sun on my face, and gaze up at the open blue skies,” Namazi said in the statement. “My other pressing ‘needs’ include visiting the Apple Store to replace all the devices my captors took as bounty. I am dying to find out what gadgets now exist – when i was taken hostage, the iPhone 6s had just come out. You cannot imagine what an eight-year itch feels like.”

The statement comes after it was revealed Monday that a deal had been reached to secure the release of the five Americans, who were also facing lengthy prison sentences in Iran under charges that have been decried by activists, their families and the U.S. government.


Siamak Namazi and Morad Tahbaz, who were released during a prisoner swap deal between the U.S. and Iran, arrive at Doha International Airport in Qatar on Sept. 18, 2023. (Reuters / Mohammed Dabbous)

“Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home,” President Biden said in a statement as the plane carrying the group Iran landed in Qatar, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The five prisoners were released in exchange for $5.9 billion in previous frozen Iranian assets, according to the Associated Press, with that money being received by an account in Qatar on Monday.

“Fortunately Iran’s frozen assets in South Korea were released and God willing today the assets will start to be fully controlled by the government and the nation,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

The five Americans also arrived in Qatar on Monday, according to the report, and were greeted on the tarmac by U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Timmy Davis. Three of the former prisoners, Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, hugged the ambassador and others present after exiting the plane.

Iran prisoners leave plane

Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Sharghi, who were released during a prisoner swap deal between the U.S. and Iran, arrive at Doha International Airport in Qatar on Sept. 18, 2023. (Reuters/Mohammed Dabbous)

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