Iran says four ‘dual-nationals’ freed in prisoner exchange


TEHRAN: Iran said Saturday that four Iranian dual nationals had been freed as part of a prisoner exchange in line with national interests at the order of the country’s top security committee.


No names were immediately released in a statement from the judiciary outlining the decision, but among Iranian-American citizens in custody is Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent.

Rezaian’s lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told AFP she had not learned if her client was free. “I have no information on this,” she said.

However according to Fars news agency, Jason Rezaian and Saeed Abedini are among the prisoners freed by Iran.

The announcement came as Iran and world powers led by the United States were expected to finally implement last July’s nuclear deal, which will lift international sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic.

As well as California-born Rezaian, sentenced to unspecified jail time last year having been tried for espionage, Iran has been holding three other Iranian-American citizens.

They include pastor Saeed Abedini, in jail for three years after being convicted of undermining national security, and former US Marine Amir Hekmati, who is serving 10 years for cooperating with hostile governments.

The fourth is Siamak Namazi, a businessman arrested last year in Tehran after the nuclear deal was struck.

A fifth American, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, went missing in southern Iran eight years ago.