Photo By: The New Yorker

Five Americans jailed for years in Iran are flying back to the US as part of a prisoner swap mediated by Qatar.

The four men and one woman, who also hold Iranian passports, landed in Qatar after leaving the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Their release was dependent on the transfer of $6-billion in Iranian funds, earned from selling oil to South Korea, to banks in Doha.

Five Iranians imprisoned in the US are also supposed to be freed as part of the swap.

US President Joe Biden has long been urged to bring home Americans widely seen as hostages used by Iran as bargaining chips.

But leading US Republicans and Iranian activists have condemned the swap, saying it will only encourage more hostage-taking.