Iran will release four detained Americans—including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian—in exchange for seven Iranians held or charged in the United States, US and Iranian officials said Saturday. A fifth American detained in Iran, a student, was released in a move unrelated to the swap, US officials said. Rezaian; former US Marine Amir Hekmati; pastor Saeed Abedini; and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, whose name had not been previously made public, were to be flown from Iran to Switzerland aboard a Swiss aircraft and then transported to a US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, for medical treatment. The student, identified as Matthew Trevithick, was released independently of the exchange on Saturday and already was on his way home, said US officials.
In return, the US will pardon or drop charges against seven Iranians—six of whom are dual US-Iranian citizens—accused or convicted of violating US sanctions. The deal comes ahead of the expected implementation of the landmark deal on Iran's nuclear weapons. Rezaian was born in California and holds both US and Iranian citizenship. He was convicted in closed proceedings last year after being charged with espionage and related allegations. The Post, for which he covered Iran, and the US government have denied the accusations, as has Rezaian. Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007 while working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence mission, wasn't part of the deal. American officials are unsure if the former FBI agent is even still alive. The Iranians have always denied knowing his location. (Read more Jason Rezaian stories.)