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7 Iranian prisoners in US to be freed in prisoner exchange: State TV

world Updated: Jan 16, 2016 21:55 IST

In this file photo, Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American correspondent for the Washington Post, smiles as he attends a presidential campaign of President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. Iranian state television announced on Saturday that the government has freed four dual-nationality prisoners, and a person close to Iran’s judiciary is confirming to The Associated Press that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian is one of them.(AP File Photo)

Seven Iranian prisoners held in the US will be freed in exchange for the release of four Iranian-American nationals jailed in Iran, country’s official media said on Saturday.

Iran’s state television named the dual-nationals as Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, pastor Saeed Abedini, former US Marine Amir Hekmati, and Nosratollah Khosravi.

However, the official IRNA news agency, quoting an informed source, said the fourth person freed was Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American businessman, before changing its report and naming Khosravi.

The seven Iranians to be freed by the US are Nader Modanlou, Baharam Mekanik, Khosrow Afghahi, Arash Ghahraman, Touraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh, and Ali Sabounchi, according Iran’s judiciary and the state broadcaster.

Fourteen other Iranians wanted by the FBI would no longer be sought for prosecution by Interpol, both official media outlets said.

Earlier on Saturday, Iran said that four Iranian dual nationals had been freed as part of a prisoner exchange in line with national interests on the orders of the country’s top security committee.

Saeed Abedini’s lawyer, Naser Sarbazi, confirmed to ISNA news agency that his client was released.

But Rezaian’s lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told AFP she did not know if her client was free.

“I have no information on this,” she said.

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.