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The family of an American prisoner moved into a house where they were arrested in Iran

Washington — The family of Emad Shargiwho has been imprisoned in Iran for more than five years, is holding his breath highly sensitive negotiations Bringing home five Americans held in Iran play out.

“My family and I are completely out of control,” his sister Neda Sharghi told Face the Nation on Sunday. “We're incredibly nervous about what's going to happen next.”

Sharghi said she was able to speak to her brother via video call after he was released to house arrest.

“I could look him in the eye,” she said. “I'm happy to say he survived. He is alive and we really hope that we can hopefully have him in our arms at home very soon.”

Four Americans detained in Iran were recently transferred from Evin prison and placed under house arrest as part of a deal negotiated by the Biden administration to eventually secure their freedom. A fifth American, who was already under house arrest, is also part of the agreement.

Neda Sharghi on Face the Nation, August 13, 2023.

CBS News

Their release from prison was the first step in a politically sensitive deal that would bring the five Americans home in exchange for the Iranian regime's access to $6 billion in locked funds.

Shargi, an American national who was born in Iran and left the country as a child, was arrested in 2018 and eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted in absentia on baseless espionage charges. The US government thinks he is wrongly detained.

The announcement of the deal was met with criticism from Republicans. They described the deal as rewarding the Biden administration for taking Iran hostage by paying a ransom. The White House has rejected the idea, saying Iran can only use funds from a pre-existing account for humanitarian purposes.

Sharghi said now is not the time for such a debate.

“I have seen families fight and suffer. I know the devastation families go through trying to bring loved ones home,” she said. “We can have discussions about how to prevent this from happening in the future. But we're not doing this on the backs of innocent Americans. We have to bring her home. And then we can have discussions about how we can prevent this from happening in the future.”

Rep. Mike Turner, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Face the Nation on Sunday that the Biden administration should “work diligently” to bring these Americans home, but “the terms of the deal are absolute.” important.”

“They seem to be looking for an agreement that is informal and not under the control of Congress because we don't know all the terms,” ​​he said, expressing concern that it might include provisions on Iran's nuclear program. “What worries us is that we don't want a secret deal with Iran.”

Turner also said Congress should consider a travel ban to Iran.

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Sharghi said it was a discussion lawmakers should have after detainees are home.

“I don't want to stop people from doing that. But the reality is we need to sit down on both sides of the aisle and find ways to prevent something like this from happening again,” she said. “These discussions about prevention and deterrence can and should take place after they return home.”

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