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Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini Leave Iran After Prisoner Swap

Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian and two other Americans safely left Iran as part of a prisoner-swap and landed in Germany on Sunday.
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Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian and two other Americans safely left Iran as part of a prisoner swap and landed in Germany on Sunday.

Rezaian's departure from the country after more than 500 days in detention came as part of a prisoner exchange that also negotiated the release of three other Americans: former Marine Amir Hekmati, Christian preacher Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari.

Hekmati and Abedini also departed Iran on Sunday, according to officials and family members.

Senior administration officials said Saturday evening that student Matthew Trevithick, a fifth American who was released independently of the prisoner swap, had already departed Iran.

The Washington Post said early Sunday that Rezaian was "now a free man" and had safely left Iran with his wife.

Rezaian was in good spirits, The Post said after he spoke briefly by phone with Executive Editor Martin Baron and Foreign Editor Douglas Jehl.

Asked how he was doing, Rezaian said, "I'm a hell of a lot better than I was 48 hours ago," the newspaper said.

Hekmati's family in Michigan said they were informed that he was on a plane out of Iran and remained "in hopeful anticipation" until he was in their arms.

"It is hard to put into words what our family feels right now," the Hekmatis said in a statement issued through the office of Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Michigan. "As many of you know, Amir's father is very ill and soon he will embrace his son once more."

Abedini also boarded a plane out of Iran, according to the pastor's wife.

"Praise God! Saeed finally made it out of Iranian soil and is now on a plane heading to Switzerland," she wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for your prayers!"

A plane believed to be carrying at least one of the freed hostages landed in Geneva at about 12:35 p.m. ET, with expectations that they were getting on another plane to Landstuhl, Germany, where the U.S. Army has a large medical base.

Abedini's wife then tweeted: "Saeed just landed in Geneva. He is getting ready to leave to Germany. I should talk with Saeed in just a few hours! Thank you for your prayers!"

Confirming that three of the released men were on the plane, U.S. State Department special envoy Brett McGurk then tweeted: "Overwhelmed to greet Jason #Rezaian, his wife, Yegi, mother, Mary + Saeed #Abedini + Amir #Hekmati to #Geneva after safely departing #Iran."

The men landed in Germany about 3 p.m. ET, according to U.S. officials and The Washington Post.

"We can confirm that the U.S. citizens who departed Iran this morning after being released from detention have arrived in Germany," a State Department official told NBC News.

The status of Khosravi-Roodsari was not immediately clear, although Reuters reported that U.S. officials said he was not on the plane that left Tehran.

A senior administration official told NBC News that "our detained U.S. citizens have been released and that those who wished to depart Iran have left."

Image: People with three Iranian-Americans lands in Geneva
People walk off a plane carrying three Iranian-Americans, who left Tehran under a prisoner swap, after it landed in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday.Denis Balibouse / Reuters