Americans Freed in Prisoner Swap with Iran, Nuclear Deal Takes Effect
United States officials and Iranian officials have agreed to a prisoner swap as world leaders meet to implement a historic nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.
Iran will release four detained Americans in exchange for seven Iranians held or charged in the U.S, which comes after 14 months of negotiations.
The announcement comes the same day as the U.N. Nuclear Agency reports Iran has met commitments written out in the nuclear deal, meaning some sanctions will be lifted on Iran.
U.S. officials say the dual-nationality prisoners to be released are Washington Power reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi.
The freed men will be flown to Switzerland and then transported to Germany for medical treatment.
A fifth detained American, student Matthew Trevithick, will also be released, but U.S. officials says it’s unrelated to the prisoner swap.
In exchange, the U.S. will pardon or drop charges against seven Iranians accused or convicted of violating U.S. sanctions.
Just as the swap was announced, world leaders involved in the Iran Nuclear deal, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, met in Vienna at the headquarters of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
Saturday’s talks are going over a compliance report by the U.N. nuclear agency, which states Iran has met some of its obligations written out in the deal. Iran’s foreign minister says that report triggers the implementation of the nuclear deal reached in July.
Under the deal, Tehran, Iran agreed to crimp programs it could use to make nuclear weapons in return for an end to international nuclear-related sanctions, which would mean an estimated $100 billion in sanction relief for Iran over time.