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Iran releases four dual-national inmates in prisoner swap

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi

Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi says Iran has released four Iranian-American prisoners as part of a prisoner exchange agreement.

“In line with ratifications of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and the Islamic establishment’s general expediencies, four Iranian prisoners, who hold dual nationality, have been released within the framework of a prisoner swap,” Dolatabadi said on Saturday, IRNA reported.

The four released dual-national prisoners comprised The Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian; Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor; Amir Hekmati, a former US Marine, and another inmate named Nosratollah Khosravi.

From Left: Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor; The Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian; and Amir Hekmati, a former US Marine 

IRNA also reported that the United States in return also released seven Iranians held in US prisons. The source named Nader Madanlou, Bahram Mekanik, Khosro Afghahi, Arash Qahreman, Touraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh and Ali Sabounchi as the seven Iranian nationals who have been released.

Furthermore, the Iranian news agency reported that the US will no longer pursue the extradition of 14 other Iranians.

“The US in recent years issued the arrest warrant for these individuals on the charge of skirting the sanctions [against Iran] and called for their extradition to the US,” an informed source said.

The source added that the US had also removed the post-release legal restrictions on another seven other Iranian nationals who are spending their final years in US jails.

Switzerland facilitated prisoner swap: Iran envoy

Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Gholam Ali Khoshrou said on Saturday that Switzerland played a positive role in the implementation of a prisoner swap between Tehran and Washington.

“Based on intensive consular negotiations between Iran and the US over the past year, which were facilitated by the Swiss government, four people, who hold dual Iranian-American nationality, were released,” Khoshrou said in an interview with IRIB news agency.

He added that administrative efforts are underway for the release of seven Iranians who have been in US jails on the alleged charge of violating the sanctions against Iran.

US removes Interpol detention request for 14 Iranians

The US State Department on Saturday confirmed the release of the four Iranian-American detainees that was secured through the establishment of "a diplomatic channel” and said it had dropped an international request to arrest 14 Iranian citizens and dismissed charges against them.

“We offered clemency to seven Iranians, six of whom are dual US-Iranian citizens, who had been convicted or are pending trial in the United States,” it added.

"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 State Department said.

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