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Iran announced on Saturday that it had released four Iranian-Americans as part of a prisoner exchange with the United States, a move that came as the United States and Iran were negotiating the final steps before the expected lifting of oil and financial sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program.
The exchange, first reported by Iran and confirmed hours later by Obama administration officials, removed a big source of irritation in the difficult relationship between the two countries, which broke down more than three decades ago during the 1979-1981 Tehran hostage crisis. Jason Rezaian, a 39-year-old Californian who became the Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tehran in 2012, had been languishing in Tehran’s Evin Prison since July 2014 on vaguely defined charges of espionage that he denied and that his lawyer said had fallen apart at a closed trial in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.