The four Iranian-American prisoners held captive in Iran have been released on January 16, according to Iranian state television: Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abiding, Washington Post bureau chief Jason Rezaian; the fourth’s identity hasn’t been revealed.
Iranian state television agency FARS announced on January 16 that their four dual-nationality prisoners (i.e. Iranian-Americans) were being released as “within the framework of exchanging prisoners.” Washington Post and The New York Times have reported that WaPo bureau chief Jason Rezaian, was one of those released, as well as marine veteran Amir Hekmati and Christian pastor Saeed Abedeni were also released; the fourth prisoner was only identified as an “American-Iranian national.”
.The semi-official ISNA news agency in Tehran reported word from the Tehran prosecutor’s office, which stated that the inmates were freed “within the framework” of exchanging prisoners; the United States reportedly swapped six prisoners with Iran (held on charges related to sanctions against Iran) for these four Iranian-Americans.
“Based on an approval of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) 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,” FARS said.
Jason was first detained in Iran in 2014, eventually charged with espionage and other crimes in a 2015 closed-door trial. Amir was charged with espionage and other crimes in 2012, sentenced to death. That sentence was later overturned, with his charges being dropped to “cooperating with hostile governments” and a sentence of 10 years in prison. Saeed is an Iran national who converted from Islam to Christianity in 2012. He was convicted in 2013 for “attempting to undermine the Iranian government” and sentenced to eight years in prison. Learn five things about Jason here!
There is no word on who the fourth prisoner may be. One prisoner”s family allegedly received an unofficial statement from Iran that same day informing them that their relative was going to be released, though it is unclear whom.
HollywoodLifers, are you shocked that the prisoners were released from Iran? Tell us in the comments!