The Massachusetts man who had been detained in an Iranian prison for 40 days and released has returned home.
The Boston Globe reports that family greeted 30-year-old Matthew Trevithick early Sunday evening when he landed at Boston’s Logan Airport. He is from Hingham, about 17 miles southeast of Boston.
Iranian officials released Trevithick on Saturday.
Trevithick had traveled to Iran in September for a language program at an institute associated with Tehran University. It is unknown why he was held in Evin Prison for more than a month.
Trevithick is the co-founder of SREO, a humanitarian crisis research center. His release, which was independent of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran that saw four American prisoners discharged, was what U.S. officials called a “goodwill gesture.”
Obama: Iran deal makes the world safer
Earlier, three of the four discharged Americans had boarded a plane for Germany — Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati of Flint, Mich., and pastor Saeed Abedini of Boise — but not Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari.
In an internal memo to Post staff, Executive Editor Martin Baron and Foreign Editor Douglas Jehl said they had spoken briefly by telephone with Rezaian, who was being evaluated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.
An administration official said Khosravi-Roodsari made a “free determination” on whether he wanted to stay in Iran or come to the United States. “So we don’t make that judgment for him,” said the official, who asked not to be named in order to discuss sensitive diplomatic issues.
Iran also agreed to allow Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who is an Iranian citizen, to leave the country with him. She is a correspondent for The National, a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates.
Rezaian’s family issued a statement Sunday, saying “this nightmare is approaching an end.”
“After nearly a year and a half of arbitrary delays, and an unfair, opaque judicial process, Jason’s release has brought indescribable relief and joy to our family,” his brother, Ali Rezaian, said in the family statement.
The family thanked the Post and other organizations who worked for Rezaian’s release, as well as the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry.
“We are relieved that this 545-day nightmare for Jason and his family is finally over,” Washington Post publisher Frederick J. Ryan Jr. said in a statement.
“You have no idea how difficult it is to continue to work and live your daily life knowing that one of your colleagues is sitting in the worst prison in Iran. It’s a horrible feeling.” Baron told CNN’s Reliable Sources in a phone call from Landstuhl. Now, “we feel a huge sense of relief.”
The deal has come under criticism by some Republicans, who have accused the Obama administration of being too quick to cut deals with Iran.
“A disturbing pattern is emerging where the Obama administration is willing to negotiate the release of spies, terrorists and now criminals,” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Sunday in a statement. “I fail to see how this trend will improve the long-term security of the United States and its citizens.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department unleashed new sanctions Sunday against 11 people and companies involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, just one day after President Obama lifted sanctions based on Iran’s nuclear program.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control is blocking the assets of Mabrooka Trading, a company based in the United Arab Emirates, for its role in procuring components for Iran’s ballistic missiles. Also sanctioned are other companies and individuals involved in the program, which tested two ballistic missiles last year.
As part of the deal to release the Americans, Obama agreed to pardon or commute the sentences of seven Iranians held by the United States. None has been charged or convicted of any terrorism-related or violent crimes, but they were instead charged or convicted of crimes related to the evasion of Iranian sanctions. Six of them hold dual Iranian and American citizenship, and the seventh is an Iranian.
Kerry said Sunday that U.S. officials hashed out the prisoner exchange over 11 or 12 meetings with the Iranians, the Associated Press reported. At times, the Americans thought a deal was set, only to get stuck on the details.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised the new engagement with the United States, saying his country “has opened a new chapter” in its ties with the world, the BBC reported.
Speaking before the parliament in comments broadcast on live television, Rouhani said the landmark nuclear deal has satisfied all parties except radical extremists.
“All are happy except Zionists, warmongers, sowers of discord among Islamic nations and extremists in the U.S. The rest are happy,” Rouhani said, according to the AP.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a staunch opponent of the nuclear deal, pledged Sunday to remain vigilant to make sure Iran does not violate its commitments.
“What is clear is that Iran will now have more resources to dedicate to their terrorism and aggression in the region and in the world, and Israel is prepared to deal with any threat,” he said, the AP reported.
Contributing: Gregory Korte, The Associated Press
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