Monday, 18 January 2016

Prison Swap: Obama exchanges 7 Iranians for 5 Americans held in Iran.

President Obama pardoned four Iranian citizens and commuted the sentences of three others Sunday in exchange for the release of five Americans formerly held in Iran.

President Obama called the use of his constitutional clemency power a "reciprocal humanitarian gesture."

"These individuals were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses. They’re civilians, and their release is a one-time gesture to Iran given the unique opportunity offered by this moment and the larger circumstances at play," Obama said Sunday. "And it reflects our willingness to engage with Iran to advance our mutual interests, even as we ensure the national security of the United States."

They will be released from U.S. custody through a side deal to the Iran nuclear agreement that led Iran to release five Americans: Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, pastor Saeed Abedini, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, and student Matthew Trevithick.

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