UPDATE - US confirms 5 Americans held in Iran transferred to house arrest

UPDATE - US confirms 5 Americans held in Iran transferred to house arrest

'We will not rest until they are all back home in the United States,' says White House

ADDS STATE DEPARTMENT COMMENT IN GRAFS 7 - 8

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US received confirmation that five Americans who "unjustly detained" by Iran have been transferred to house arrest, the White House said Thursday.

The US citizens -- Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi, and two others who wish to remain anonymous -- "should have never been detained in the first place," said National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

"We will continue to monitor their condition as closely as possible. Of course, we will not rest until they are all back home in the United States," she said in a statement.

"Until that time, negotiations for their eventual release remain ongoing and are delicate," added Watson, emphasizing that the White House will not have further specifics on their case due to the ongoing talks.

The decision to move the Americans to house arrest is part of a deal being brokered between Washington and Tehran that would also see the US release Iranian nationals detained in the US, and free up $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets, according to multiple reports.

Iran has long sought the funds that have been placed under American sanctions. If the deal is finalized, Iran will be allowed to use the money only for purchases of humanitarian aid, including food and medicine, NBC News reported.

The State Department separately confirmed it is in direct contact with the detainees' families, and said it is continuing "to monitor these individuals’ health and welfare closely."

The detainees "must be allowed to depart Iran and reunite with their loved ones as soon as possible," spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement to Anadolu.


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