Plane carrying Americans in Iran prisoner swap has taken off
WASHINGTON — A plane carrying at least three of the four Americans freed by Iran as part of a prisoner swap has taken off, three of the men’s families said in Sunday statements.
White House officials said earlier Sunday that recently detained student Matthew Trevithick, who was released — but not as part of the prisoner swap — had left Iran. There were no additional details.
The situation of the fifth prisoner, identified by U.S. officials as Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, was not immediately known. A statement from a senior White House official did not name specific prisoners, but confirmed that “detained U.S. citizens have been released and that those who wished to depart Iran have left.”
The publisher of The Washington Post confirmed its journalist, Jason Rezaian, was released in the prisoner swap and had left the country with his wife.
The families of Marine veteran Amir Hekmati and Christian pastor Saeed Abedin also confirmed that their loved ones had left Iran.
The five Americans had been detained in separate cases, some as early as 2011.
Earlier Sunday, seven Iranian men walked free from detention in the United States after being pardoned and released, a lawyer for one of the men said.
They had all been indicted or imprisoned for sanctions violations, and six of the seven are dual citizens.
The prisoner swap comes a day after international inspectors concluded Tehran was in compliance with the deal governing its nuclear program. Iranian officials and U.S. administration officials confirmed the news Saturday. As a result, some international economic sanctions against Iran were lifted.
The deal comes after more than a year of secret negotiations, the officials said. The nuclear agreement “accelerated” the prisoner swap, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.
The United States also agreed to drop charges against 14 other Iranians whose extradition to the United States seemed unlikely, a U.S. official said.