The plane carrying five American citizens freed as part of a deal between the U.S. and Iran have now landed back home in the United States
Americans detained for years in Iran arrived home Tuesday, tearfully hugged their loved ones and declared “Freedom!” after being let go as part of a politically risky deal that saw President Joe Biden agree to the release of nearly $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
The prisoners landed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, with clapping and cheers heard in the predawn hours. Siamak Namazi, the first off the jet, paused for a moment, closed his eyes and took a deep breath before leaving the plane. Loved ones, some holding small American flags, enveloped them in hugs and exchanged greetings in English and Farsi, the main language of Iran.
“The nightmare is finally over,” Namazi’s brother, Babak, said at the airport.
“We haven’t had this moment in over eight years,” he added, his arm around his brother and his formerly detained father, Baquer, who had been earlier released by Iran. “It’s unbelievable.”
One of the other freed Americans, Emad Sharghi, received from his sister, Neda, a U.S. flag and a stuffed animal that she had given to their father 30 years ago when he had bypass surgery, a family representative said.
The successful negotiations for the Americans’ freedom brought Biden profuse thanks from their families but heat from Republican presidential rivals and other opponents for the monetary arrangement with one of America’s top adversaries.