(JTA) — The Obama administration’s January 2016 prisoner exchange with Iran allegedly involved dropping prosecutions against more Iranian fugitives than previously known, including a top procurer of material with nuclear applications.
Some of the seven men freed in the exchange were accused by the Justice Department of posing threats to national security. In addition, the Justice Department dropped charges and international arrest warrants against 14 other fugitives, Politico reported Monday.
The prisoner exchange was meant to secure the implementation of the nuclear deal reached in 2015 between six major powers and Iran that swapped sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear program, as well as gain the release of five Americans being held by the Islamic Republic. At the time, the administration described the seven freed Iranians as “civilians” accused or suspected only of “sanctions-related offenses” and “violations of the trade embargo.”
Politico said the “biggest fish” released in the prisoner swap was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with being part of a conspiracy that procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran through China, including hundreds of U.S.-made sensors for Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges.