Why yes, we did commit to a nuclear deal with a nation that was holding Americans hostage.
Iran released Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian and three other detained Iranian Americans on Saturday in exchange for the freedom of seven people imprisoned or charged in the United States, U.S. and Iranian officials said, a swap linked to the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.
Hours after Iranian officials said Rezaian, 39, was freed from Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison after 18 months of captivity, and after a planned ceremony on the nuclear accord in Vienna was repeatedly postponed, the Post journalist and the other Americans remained in Tehran, waiting to be flown out of the country aboard a Swiss plane.
There was no immediate explanation for the delay.
But the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency then announced the release of a report Saturday “confirming that Iran has completed the necessary preparatory steps to start the implementation” of the nuclear deal, a move that apparently paves the way for the exchange to go ahead.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry promptly headed over to the site of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Coburg Palace Hotel in Vienna, and signed numerous documents. The State Department then released a statement from Kerry confirming that the IAEA “has verified that Iran has fully implemented its required commitments” under the nuclear deal and that U.S. sanctions against Iran related to its nuclear program are lifted in accordance with the agreement.