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17 January 2016

American detainees leave Iran under exchange deal

guantanomoUS official says four Americans released, returning home

WASHINGTON

 Four Americans detained in Iran have been released, the U.S. said Sunday.

The releases are part of a breakthrough deal arranged between the longtime opponents as sanctions on Iran were ended in return for progress in complying with an agreement on its nuclear program.

“We can confirm that our detained U.S. citizens have been released and that those who wished to depart Iran have left,” a senior administration official said.

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari were freed and were to be flown to Switzerland, U.S. officials said.

Student Matthew Trevithick was released independently of the exchange on Saturday and returning home.

The U.S. has offered clemency to seven Iranians, six of who hold dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship. Washington has also dropped Interpol “red notices” – international arrest warrants – against 14 other Iranians.

Three of the Iranians were serving prison sentences and now have received a commutation or pardon and another three were awaiting trial. The other person made a plea agreement.

It is unclear if they will travel to Iran and are free to stay in the U.S.

The exchange was announced shortly before Iran was certified as having met all commitments under the nuclear deal with six world powers.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Americans had been released from Iranian custody.

The official IRNA news agency named the seven freed Iranians as Nader Modanlou, Bahram Mekanik, Khosrow Afqahi, Arash Qahreman, Touraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh and Ali Sabouni.

Anadolu Agency

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