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Biden sanctions Iran former President Ahmadinejad after prisoner swap

September 18, 2023 at 4:43 pm

US President Joe Biden speaks during an event celebrating the lowering of drug pricing in the East Room of the White House on August 29, 2023 in Washington DC, United States [Nathan Posner – Anadolu Agency]

Fresh off a prisoner swap between Washington and Tehran, US President Joe Biden announced, on Monday, new sanctions against a former Iranian president and the country’s Intelligence Ministry, Anadolu Agency reports.

Today, we are sanctioning former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence under the Levinson Act for their involvement in wrongful detentions

Biden said in a statement. “And we will continue to impose costs on Iran for their provocative actions in the region.”

The news came after Biden said five innocent Americans were “finally coming home” in a swap deal after being imprisoned in Iran.

I am grateful to our partners at home and abroad for their tireless efforts to help us achieve this outcome, including the Governments of Qatar, Oman, Switzerland, and South Korea

Biden said, giving special thanks to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, and to the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq.

“As we celebrate the return of these Americans, we also remember those who did not return,” he said, calling on Iran to “give a full account of what happened to Bob Levinson,” a former FBI agent who disappeared on Iran’s Kish Island in 2011 and later died in custody in Iran, according to the US government.

In the statement, Biden also urged American passport holders not to travel to Iran.

Biden also said his administration remains “unflinching” in its efforts to “bring home every American held hostage or wrongfully detained.”

The five freed US citizens landed in Doha, Qatar on Monday as part of a prisoner swap deal which includes the US unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian funds.

READ: US House lawmakers overwhelmingly pass new sanctions on Iran