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UPDATE

U.S. officials said three Iranian-Americans -- Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief; Saeed Abedini, a pastor from Idaho; and Amir Hekmati, a former Marine from Flint, Michigan -- were on a flight headed for Switzerland.

The official said a fourth released American, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, was not on the plane.

"Those who wished to depart Iran have left," according to a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A fifth American, student Matthew Trevithick, was released independently of the larger swap, and already had headed home.

The Americans were exchanged for seven Iranian nationals.

A congressional source told Fox News the deal was not officially a swap because "innocent Americans held against their will" were exchanged for Iranian nationals, "some convicted of federal crimes."

Catherine Herridge reported on Fox and Friends Weekend that there are "several other Americans" still being held by the Islamic Republic, including retired FBI agent Bob Levinson.

Watch the report above, and check FoxNews.com for the latest.

Original story appears below.


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Jan 16, 2016 // 10:42am
 

Iran has released four dual-nationality prisoners -- among them U.S. Marine veteran Amir Hekmati -- as part of a prisoner swap with the United States for seven Iranian prisoners.

Hekmati was arrested in August 2011 while visiting his grandmother in Iran and accused of spying. He's been held in prison ever since.

A U.S. official told AP that in addition to Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and a fourth prisoner will be released by Iran.

U.S. President Barack Obama has pardoned three Iranian-Americans who were charged with sanctions violations, a lawyer for one of the men told Reuters.

Their names are Bahram Mechanic, Tooraj Faridi and Khosrow Afghahi, according to the lawyer.

U.S. officials said the U.S. will pardon or drop charges against seven Iranians -- six of whom are dual citizens -- accused or convicted of violating sanctions, in exchange for the prisoners' release.

The U.S. will also drop Interpol "red notices" on a handful of Iranian fugitives it has sought.

Jordan Sekulow, the lawyer for Saeed Abedini, confirmed on Fox and Friends Weekend that Abedini was among the four released.

He was detained in Iran in the summer of 2012 for holding private religious gatherings in Christian homes in Iran in the early 2000s.

Rezaian was arrested during a raid on his Tehran home in July 2014 and was later charged and convicted of espionage and "propaganda against the establishment." 

There are conflicting reports about the identity of the fourth prisoner. Reuters reported that it was Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, a businessman.

 A U.S. official said Iran also releasing a fifth detained American, unrelated to the prisoner swap.

The official said the freed Americans will be flown to Switzerland from Iran by Swiss plane.

This is a developing news story. Check FoxNews.com for the latest.


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