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Jason Rezaian and 3 Other US Inmates Freed by Iran

16 January 2016 22:27


4 Iranian-American nationals who were held for various charges in Iran have been freed under a prisoners swap deal, Tehran’s prosecutor announced Saturday afternoon.

“Based on an approval of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and the overall 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.

The four Iranian-Americans, Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmat, Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosrawi Roudsariwho were jailed in Iran on various charges in recent years, have all been released.

Some English and Persian websites have wrongly named Siamak Namazi as the fourth inmate freed under the deal today. Namazi remains in jail for his charges are financial, and not political. The freed prisoners are due to fly to Switzerland from Iran on a Swiss flight.

Meantime, a US official said a fifth dual nationality prisoner would also be released by Iran separate from the swap deal. Later reports named this fifth prisoner as Mathew Trevithick.

According to the swap deal, the US has also freed 7 Iranian-Americans who were held for sanctions-related charges and demanded the Interpol to stop prosecution of 14 other Iranian nationals.

The 7 Iranian inmates freed by the US have been named as Nader Modanlou, Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afqahi, Arash Ghahreman, Touraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh and Ali Sabounchi.

The 14 Iranians who were accused in the United States of sanctions violations and had charges dropped on Saturday under the prisoner deal include Saeed Jamili, Jalal Salami, Matin Sadeqi, Alireza Moazzemi Goudarzi, Mohammad Abbas Mohammadi, Kourosh Taherkhani, Sajjad Farhadi, Seyed Ahmad Abtahi, Gholamreza Mahmoudi, Hamid Arabnejad, Ali Moattar, Mohammad Ali She’rbaf, Amin Ravan and Behrouz Dolatzadeh.

A senior Iranian legislator citing an IRGC report on Rezaian’s case said in October that he had been imprisoned for his attempts to help the US Senate to advance its regime change plots in Iran.

In late July 2014, Iran confirmed that four journalists, including Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, had been arrested and were being held for questioning.

Rezaian’s wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper, the National, was also arrested at that time, but she and two others were released later.

According to the Constitution, the Judiciary is independent from the government in Iran.

Some reports earlier this year had spoken of a potential prisoner swap between Iran and US following the Vienna nuclear deal in July.

(Paragraphs 2 and 5 have been updated several times and paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 7 have been added to this report.)

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