The five Americans released by Iran as part of an agreement that involves the release of frozen $6 billion to Tehran arrived in the United States on Tuesday.
All of them landed at dawn at a military base near the US capital, said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.
"Welcome home," reacted Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden's National Security Advisor on X (formerly Twitter), where he published a photo of the freed Americans accompanied by diplomats on the plane.
In other photographs, the former detainees were seen smiling, hugging their loved ones at the Fort Belvoir military base, in Virginia, early in the morning.
The day before, the White House reported that President Biden had had a "very emotional" conversation with the relatives of these Americans, amid criticism from Republican opposition to the agreement.
The former American prisoners, one of whom had been detained for eight years, and two of their relatives left Tehran on Monday morning on a Qatari flight bound for Doha, where they stopped before taking off for the United States.
Qatar, one of the mediators of the agreement, announced the transfer of Iranian funds frozen in South Korea worth $6 billion. Iran confirmed it.
This transfer was part of the agreement, as was the release on Monday by the United States of five Iranian prisoners.
The US-Iran deal was announced on August 10, when the five Iranian Americans detained in Iran were moved from prison to house arrest.
Among them is the businessman Siamak Namazi, arrested in 2015 and sentenced to ten years in prison in 2016 for espionage.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his satisfaction at the release of the prisoners, one of whom, Morad Tahbaz, is also a British national.
A third former prisoner, Emad Sharqi, is an investor sentenced to ten years in prison for espionage.
The identities of the remaining two are unknown.
Among the five Iranians released by the United States are Reza Sarhangpour and Kambiz Attar Kashani, accused of evading "US sanctions" imposed on Iran.
– Relative calm –
For some experts, this exchange shows that tension between Iran and the United States has been mitigated, but it does not presuppose that there can be an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
"We are not naive," declared European Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday.
The United States insisted that this was not a "blank check" issued to Iran and that the use of the frozen Iranian funds, under "strict supervision," was solely for "humanitarian purposes."
The money "cruelly blocked until now and currently in the possession of the Islamic republic belongs to the (Iranian) people and we will use it to meet the needs of the people," declared the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, in New York, quoted by the media. Iranian communication.