Iran Releases Four US Prisoners

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Jason Rezaian
Jason Rezaian

Iran has released four Iranian Americans as part of a prisoner exchange agreement.

The office of the Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said:  “In line with ratifications of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and the Islamic establishment’s general expediencies, four Iranian prisoners, who hold dual nationality, have been released within the framework of a prisoner swap”

One of the prisoners is believed to be Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was as convicted of espionage in Iran last year.

The BBC reports:

News of the releases came after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif predicted that international sanctions against his country would be lifted on Saturday.

He is in Vienna for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry over Iran’s nuclear deal.

The international nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is expected to confirm that Iran has scaled back its atomic activities in line with the agreement, to focus exclusively on peaceful atomic purposes.

Billions of dollars of frozen Iranian assets are expected to be released and the sale of Iranian oil on the world market will again be permitted.

In addition to Jason Rezaian, the Associated Press has named as US prisoners held in Iran

Former Marine Amir Hekmati of Flint, Michigan
Pastor Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho
Siamak Namazi, a businessman and the son of a politician from the shah’s era
The news agency adds that a former FBI agent, Robert Levinson, disappeared in Iran in 2007 while working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence mission.

The Washington Post said in a report that there had been no official US confirmation of the release.

One Iranian news agency, Fars, named those released as Rezaian, Hekmati and Abedini. It did not give the fourth prisoner’s name.

“Based on an approval of the Supreme National Security Council and the general interests of the Islamic Republic, four Iranian prisoners with dual-nationality were freed today within the framework of a prisoner swap deal,” the office of Tehran prosecutor said.

According to Fars, the US “also freed six Iranian-Americans who were held [on] sanctions-related charges”.

Niamh Harris
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