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Americans Freed by Iran Are Met With Joy, Long-Awaited Reunions

Sarah Hekmati Arrives in Germany for Reunion With Brother Amir 0:30

The moment she fought tirelessly for has finally arrived.

More than four years after Amir Hekmati was arrested in Iran, Sarah Hekmati was going to see her brother as a free man thanks to a prisoner swap that garnered his release along with three other Americans.

She arrived in Germany — where her brother, journalist Jason Rezaian and Saeed Abedini had been transferred from Iran — early Monday.

"We are very excited," she told reporters at the airport.

"The reunion that they have anticipated for 4 1/2 years will soon be here," the Hekmati family posted in a separate statement on their official Twitter account.

The Hekmati reunion was one of several set to play out Monday for the freed prisoners. An American released separate to the prisoner swap — Matthew Trevithick — was already home in Boston, according to the Boston Globe.

Rezaian — who left Iran with his wife and mother — was expected to meet with editors from his newspaper, The Washington Post, who had traveled to Germany.

3 American Prisoners Freed From Iran 4:29

"He's being treated, he's being evaluated," the Post's executive editor Marty Baron told NBC's TODAY. "We had the opportunity last night to speak with him ... He sounded in good spirits and was eager for human contact and the opportunity to see us and his brother, Ali, who has worked tirelessly on his behalf."

The prisoners' difficult conditions and limited prospects of release drove the decision to open negotiations for a prisoner exchange 14 months ago, according to a senior Obama administration official.

Rezaian was facing a "significant sentence" along with Hekmati, while there was "really no hope of ever finding a release valve" for Abedini, the official explained.

'This Is a Good Day': Obama Touts Iran Nuclear Deal, Prisoner Release 1:21

The official said the talks — mostly held in Switzerland — required opening a "separate channel" to the ongoing nuclear negotiations in order to reach "elements of the Iranian system that we don't normally, typically engage with."

Secrecy throughout was "absolutely critical" for both sides to make progress, the official added, saying that after 14 months of "very intensive" negotiations the "breakthrough" was achieved.