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Flint's Amir Hekmati released from Iranian prison

Jan 16, 2016

Amir Hekmati.
Credit Released by the family

Update 3:35 p.m.

NPR has confirmed that Iran released a fifth prisoner. An American named Matthew Trevithick. You can find more here.

 

To recap, here are the names of the five prisoners released from Iran:

 

  • Amir Hekmati
  • Saeed Abedini
  • Jason Rezaian
  • Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsar
  • Matthew Trevithick

12:40 p.m.

Amir Hekmati has sat in an Iranian prison cell for more than four years. Iran accused the former U.S. marine of spying for the U.S. government. 

Charges he has continually denied. Hekmati's family has been working to free him.

Today, a breakthrough as the U.S. government and Iran get set to implement the nuclear deal between the two countries. The deal includes the release of four dual-nationality prisoners, including Hekmati.

More from the Associated Press:

Iranian state television announced Saturday that the government had freed four dual-nationality prisoners, and a person close to Iran's judiciary confirmed to The Associated Press that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was one of them.

The announcement of the exchange came as the International Atomic Energy Agency was close to certifying that Iran had met all commitments under the landmark nuclear deal with six world powers. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting in Vienna with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other officials involved in the accord, and it was expected that such certification could come Saturday.

U.S. and Iranian officials say Iran is releasing four detained Iranian-Americans in exchange for seven Iranians held or charged in the United States. The U.S. will either pardon or drop charges against the seven Iranians - six of whom are dual citizens - accused or convicted of violating U.S. sanctions. They report the U.S. will also drop Interpol "red notices" - essentially arrest warrants - on a handful of Iranian fugitives it has sought.

 

A US said on background this morning, "Through a diplomatic channel that was established with the focus of getting our detained U.S. citizens home, we can confirm Iran has released from imprisonment four Americans detained in Iran:  Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, Jason Rezaian, and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari. Iran has also committed to continue cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson."

"We offered clemency to seven Iranians, six of whom are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens, who had been convicted or are pending trial in the United States.  The United States also removed any Interpol red notices and dismissed any charges against 14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful.”

The four U.S. prisoners are to be flown from Iran to Switzerland on a Swiss plane and then brought to a U.S. military base in Landstuhl, Germany, for medical treatment.