News / USA

    American Held in Iran Arrives in US, Others Remain in Germany

    US, Iran Swap Prisonersi
    X
    Zlatica Hoke
    January 18, 2016 12:09 AM
    Iran released five imprisoned Americans and the United States has pardoned seven Iranians in a swap that followed the lifting of most of the international sanctions against Iran on Saturday. Three of the freed U.S. citizens arrived in Europe from Tehran on Sunday. One was released earlier and another decided to stay in Iran. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Related TV report by Zlatica Hoke
    Chris Hannas

    One of the Americans freed by Iran arrived home late Sunday, while several others were in Germany to receive medical treatment at a U.S. military hospital.

    The Boston Globe published a picture of Matthew Trevithick and his mother at Boston's Logan Airport where he arrived late Sunday on a flight from Turkey. He was held for more than a month at Iran's Evin prison for reasons that are not yet clear.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that Trevithick and another American, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, had been "unjustly held in Iran."

    Kerry announced Sunday that Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Mirzaei Hekmati and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini were safely in Germany. Rezaian was accompanied by his wife, journalist Yeganeh Salehi, and his mother.

    "Today, all Americans celebrate the freedom of our fellow citizens," Kerry wrote on Twitter.

    The release of the American prisoners was announced Saturday, just hours before Iranian and Western diplomats in Vienna announced implementation of a nuclear pact between Western powers and Iran.

    Bureau chief

    Rezaian, an Iranian-American who served as the Post's Tehran bureau chief, was arrested in 2014 on espionage charges and spent over 500 days in jail, despite pleas and protests by the U.S. government, the Post, family and friends.

    He was convicted on the espionage charges in a secret trial last year, but his sentence had never been disclosed.

    Late Sunday, the Post published a memo sent to the newspaper's newsroom describing a telephone conversation between Rezaian, executive editor Martin Baron and foreign editor Douglas Jehl.

    It said Rezaian was in good spirits, that he felt better then he did several months ago and that his mind is sharp.

    Publisher Frederick Ryan released a statement saying the newspaper is "relieved that this 545-day nightmare for Jason and his family is finally over."

    Other former detainees

    The other three ex-detainees released as part of a prisoner swap are: Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, an Iranian-American and former U.S. Marine arrested in 2011 on spying charges while visiting his grandmother; Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor imprisoned since 2012; and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, whose name had not been made public until Saturday.

    Trevithick had been detained for 40 days while in Iran for an intensive language program to increase his fluency in Dari, a language closely related to Farsi.

    Trevithick's release was separate from the those of the other four Americans.

    WATCH: Related video on prisoner release, nuclear deal implementation

    President Obama on Iran Nuclear Agreement, Prisoner Exchange, New Sanctionsi
    X
    January 17, 2016 4:32 PM
    The president touted the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement and release of Americans imprisoned by Iran as a "good day" and said the US implemented new sanctions on Iranian companies and people over recent ballistic missile tests.

    In return, U.S. President Barack Obama offered clemency to seven Iranians who have either been charged or convicted for violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.

    Three of them, Bahram Mechanic, Tooraj Faridi and Khosrow Afghani, are accused of exporting electronics to Iran. Nader Modanlo was convicted in 2012 for helping Iran to place its first-ever satellite into orbit in 2005.

    Two other men, Arash Ghahreman and Ali Saboonchi, were each convicted in separate cases, while Nima Golestaneh pleaded guilty last month in connection with the hacking of a Vermont-based software company in 2012.

    The Obama administration also agreed to drop charges against 14 other Iranians outside the country. None of them are in U.S. custody, and officials have determined that efforts to have them extradited will not succeed.

    Former US agent

    As part of the prisoner release, Iran agreed to try to determine the fate of Robert Levinson, a former U.S. agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who disappeared there in 2007 while working on a project that has been linked to the CIA.

    Undated handout photo shows retired FBI agent Robert Levinson. His family received these photographs in April 2011.
    Undated handout photo shows retired FBI agent Robert Levinson. His family received these photographs in April 2011.

    U.S. officials have said they are unsure he is still alive, but said that Iran has "committed to continue cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of ... Levinson."

    The lengthy and complex negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program climaxed in an agreement announced last July, but there was no mention of the prisoners issue at the time.

    Obama and other senior U.S. officials have said they repeatedly demanded the release of Iran's American prisoners, but there had been, nevertheless, widespread criticism of the administration for failing to secure a firm agreement on the prisoners' release earlier.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora