A look at the Dual-National prisoners released by Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. and Iranian officials have reported that the Iranian government has released several dual-national prisoners. The Associated Press has confirmed that three of them were Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati and pastor Saeed Abedini. There were conflicting reports about the other prisoners. 

A look at the three:

Jason Rezaian, a reporter with The Washington Post, has been detained since July 2014 when Iranian security forces raided his home and seized him and his wife.

Rezaian, who was born in California and holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenship, was convicted in closed proceedings last year after being charged with espionage and related allegations. The length of his sentence has not been disclosed publicly. The Post and the U.S. government have denied the accusations, as has Rezaian. His wife, Yeganeh Salehi, was released on bail in October 2014. Rezaian was the Post’s Tehran correspondent and was accredited to work in the country by the Iranian government.

Rezaian, who has covered Iran for the Post since 2012, grew up in Marin County, California, and spent most of his life in the United States. The Post, U.S. officials and Rezaian’s family have all called for his release.

Former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati of Flint, Michigan, was detained in August 2011 on espionage charges. His family says he has lost significant weight and has trouble breathing, raising fears he could contract tuberculosis. Hekmati went to Iran to visit family and spend time with his ailing grandmother. After his arrest, his family says they were told to keep the matter quiet.

He was convicted of spying and sentenced to death in 2012. After a higher court ordered a retrial, he was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years on a lesser charge.

His sister, Sarah, has said her brother renounces his dual Iranian citizenship and vows to never return to Iran if he’s allowed to leave. He made the comments in a letter he dictated to his mother by phone.

“It has become very clear to me that those responsible view Iranian-Americans not as citizens or even human beings, but as bargaining chips and tools for propaganda,” he wrote in the letter sent to the Iranian Interest Section in Washington.

“Considering how little value the Ministry of Intelligence places on my Iranian citizenship and passport, I, too, place little value on them and inform you, effectively that I formally renounce my Iranian citizenship and passport.”

Hekmati was born in Arizona and raised in Michigan. He and his family deny any wrongdoing, and say his imprisonment has included physical and mental torture and long periods of solitary confinement in a tiny cell.

Pastor Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho, was detained for compromising national security, presumably because of Christian proselytizing, in September 2012. He was sentenced in 2013 to eight years in prison. President Barack Obama met his wife and children in 2015. There are claims he was beaten in Iranian prison. Abedini was previously arrested in 2009 and released after promising to stop organizing churches in homes. At time of arrest, was running an orphanage in Iran.