Iran Sanctions Lifted As Nuclear Deal Implemented, US Hostages Freed

Tyler Durden's picture

Just days after two US Navy boats and ten sailors were seized at Farsi Island ahead of President Obama's state-of-the-union address and just days before Tehran will see international sanctions lifted as part of the "historic" nuclear accord, four US hostages have been freed in a prisoner swap between Washington and Tehran.

Among the detainees is Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian who was famously held for spying after being convicted in a shadowy trial last year and faced up to 20 years in an Iranian prison.

According to FARS, Iran also freed Marine veteran Amir Hekmati and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who had been held on a variety of charges.

"All four are duel U.S.-Iranian citizens, according to the semiofficial Mehr and Fars news agencies," WaPo notes, adding that "news of the exchange came as world leaders converged [in Vienna] on Saturday in anticipation of the end of international sanctions against Iran in exchange for significantly curtailing its nuclear program."

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was brimming with optimism when he arrived [in Vienna] earlier in the day and met with Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief," WaPo says.

“This is a good day for the Iranian people . . . and for the world,” Zarif proclaimed. “What is going to happen today is proof . . . that major problems in the world could be tackled through dialogue, not threats, pressures and sanctions.”

"International sanctions on Iran will be lifted on Saturday when the United Nations nuclear agency declares Tehran has complied with an agreement to scale back its nuclear program," Reuters writes, adding that "'implementation day' of the nuclear deal agreed last year marks the biggest re-entry of a former pariah state onto the global economic stage since the end of the Cold War, and a turning point in the hostility between Iran and the United States that has shaped the Middle East since 1979."

The IAEA is reportedly set to issue a report that confirms Iran has complied with its commitments under the agreement struck last summer. That report will trigger the lifting of sanctions and the return of Iran to the world stage. A joint statement is expected later today.

This comes as US lawmakers push for fresh sanctions on Tehran in connection with two ballistic missile tests the Iranians carried out in October and November, and just weeks after an "incident" in the Strait of Hormuz saw the IRGC conduct a live-fire rocket test within 1,500 yards of a US aircraft carrier.

The deal has ruffled more than a few feathers in Riyadh, where the P5+1 agreement has stoked fears that America's rapprochement with the Iranians marks a shift in US Mid-East policy that could endanger the regional balance of power at a time when relations between the Sunni and Shiite powers have deteriorated markedly. As an aside, Zarif is trolling the Saudis on Twitter as we speak:

Summing up Saturday's proceedings in Vienna:

*  *  *


"Based on an approval of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and the general interests of the Islamic Republic, four Iranian prisoners with dual-nationality were freed today within the framework of a prisoner swap deal," the office of Tehran prosecutor said.

Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmat, Saeed Abedini and a fourth American-Iranian national who were jailed in Iran on various charges in recent years have all been released.

According o the swap deal, the US has also freed 6 Iranian-Americans who were held for sanctions-related charges..

A senior Iranian legislator citing an IRGC report on Rezaian's case said in October that he has been imprisoned for his attempts to help the US Senate to advance its regime change plots in Iran.

In late July 2014, Iran confirmed that four journalists, including Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, had been arrested and were being held for questioning.

Rezaian's wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper, the National, was also arrested at that time, but she and two others were released later.

According to the Constitution, the Judiciary is independent from the government in Iran.

Some reports earlier this year had spoken of a potential prisoner swap between Iran and US following the Vienna nuclear deal in July.

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junction's picture

Great, another reporter-spy can now again report on the news for the NWO mouthpiece Washington Post.

red red wine's picture
  Paris news video  Wow,  


North American Liberals and especially Millennials....careful what you wish for...

red red wine's picture

USSA is now friendly w/ IRAN and turning on its M E brother Saudi Arabia.

"Enemy of my enemy is my friend"

Xibalba's picture

Money (see OIL)  buys you 'friendship'

HowdyDoody's picture

The story about the Iranians aggressively intercepting the US troops on the two vessels has turned out to be BS as expected. The US DOD has stated that the vessels did not break down and they were not lost. They deliberately entered Iranian territorial waters.


JungleCat's picture

"According to the Constitution, the Judiciary is independent from the government in Iran."

Sure, just like here in the US. And just as true as here in the US.

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) HowdyDoody Jan 16, 2016 6:09 PM

This article is stupid. Headline might as well read US Frees Iranian Hostages In Trade For Convicts. Yes, it would a propagandic headline remain, still closer to accurate.

Article is just cheap propaganda, US style.

And Washington Post did cut back on proofsreaders or genuinely not knows duel from dual? Djeee, even Iranian media correctly used.


DownWithYogaPants's picture

Before all is said and done the liberal lefties in the USA who eternally declared themselves athiest with force will declare themselves devout (believing) muslims.

Nutsack's picture
Nutsack (not verified) bamawatson Jan 17, 2016 9:36 AM

Obama = Carter with a tan, ....and a dick in his mouth.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"They deliberately entered Iranian territorial waters"

Really? Did you see the pictures of the captured sailors/marines? Not exactly "high-speed operators".

The story, as initially reported, is definitely bullshit, but it's hard to believe you'd send a riverine craft into the open waters of the gulf with a bunch of low-speed personnel on board to "penetrate" Farsi Island.

Most likely this was gross incompetence of some sort-- incompetence that was so embarrasing that the facts were distorted at every communication step up up the chain of command, such that by the time it got to the White House, the message was complete bullshit. Kind of like a game of telephone.

After seven years of Obama, isn't this exactly how you'd expect our military to work? Every competent officer down to O5 has been purged by now, leaving us with careerists and politically correct dopes.

Even the comunists had the good sense to keep the line officers and the commissars on separate tracks. Thanks Obama!

Baron Munchausen's picture

It was absolutely intentional.

Presumably the hope was iran would shoot or at least detain the crew for weeks so the neocons could continue their warmongering propaganda.

Greenwald deftly points out how much the neocons, mostly israel firster jewish zionists (just a coincidence, surely) strained themselves trying to make iran the villain.

There is no gross incompetence allowed in that area of operation. Were it one boat, you could make a plausible 'shit happens' case.

Not two boats like that, not timed when it was, and not in that spot.

It was a us government lousy with Israel Firsters and sayanim trying to provoke a war.

Which is their m.o.

Urban Redneck's picture

Intentional?  Yes.  But what was the intention?

Iran's very quick "you'll have them back in 24 hours..." is not indicative of serious interrogation, investigation, or humiliation.

Diplomacy is the antithesis of the neocon way.

Oldrepublic's picture

The navy guy who apologizes in the video is Lt. Dave Narker,27,a navy academy graduate, according to Washington Times

newworldorder's picture

Two points here.

1. We do not know whether it was intentional.

2. Dual citizenship will be the destruction of the US Republic as well as other Western Democracies. Humans are not built on having divided loyaltiesand almost all do not have divided loyalties. Most will retain their loaytiy to their native born country. History is a testament to that reality.

Your point on neocons is correct. The same can be said of the millions of Islamic invaders currently overunning Europe. The same ca also be said for the 30 million Mexicans and Central Americans invading the United States,

HowdyDoody's picture

There were not lost. There was no mechanical problem with the vessels. They had working navigation equipment. The know (or better know) territorial limits. They made no attaempt to request transit permssion from the Iranians. They were armed.

Deliberate act or incompetence? Which do you prefer?

Quasi's picture

A lot of truth to those statements, but I still lean towards this being deliberate. The inclusion of a woman on the team is the sealer for me. It was clear she was there for extra sympathy when the team was inevitably killed/captured/raped. Same for the rest of the... possibly less than average IQ teammates. Mere sacrificial pawns in a last ditch effort to start a war.

Unfortunately for the morons-in-charge the Iranians are clearly the superior game-players and they refused to fall for the trap. They seized the vessels rather than blow them up (the Pentagon thinks the Iranians are as stupid as the Turks). Then they treated the POWs exceedingly well and returned them fairly quickly, but not before extracting a bit of tribute.

Overall the US lost 2 boats, some bags of cash, and a ton of international respect. The Iranians got even more concessions and a air of legitimacy unparalleled since the times of Ancient Persia.

But yes, the gutting of the officer class in our military is directly responsible. Only morons would have tried this gambit in the first place. And morons are our chief export these days.

HowdyDoody's picture

Is this story (admittedly from 2011) for real?

U.S. Army FORCES Cadets to Wear High Heels to Promote Feminist Campaign "Walk a mile in her shoes".

Geez fsckin' H Christ

Takeaction2's picture
Takeaction2 (not verified) red red wine Jan 16, 2016 10:16 AM

Awesome video...All need to see it.  THanks.

Skateboarder's picture

Holy moly - that's a great video, thanks for sharing. The polyticians have sold the people down the river - that Russian book regarding 2048 is all too true.

Fuck burkas, and fuck the "we don't give a fuck about your streets - they're ours" migra- erghm... refu- erghm... invaders.

Unfortunately there is no rounding them up and sending them "home." The decline continues at a staggering pace. Fucking unbelievable.

fleur de lis's picture

@ red red wine -- perfect example of psychopath Barbara Spectre inflicting her ideas on a stable society. So have the French learned their multi-cultural lessons yet? Have they learned that until they drop all vestiges of Christianity they will be continually schooled until they understand the goal?

GhostOfDiogenes's picture
GhostOfDiogenes (not verified) junction Jan 16, 2016 10:20 AM

Oy vey you said it

Wapo is totally (shamelessly) a CIA-Moosad agent outfit.

But upon reflection, I don't know any other pseudo reporters in the main stream nor in the alt media that aren't.

Early Retirement's picture
Early Retirement (not verified) GhostOfDiogenes Jan 16, 2016 11:22 AM

Even before Jewffery Bezos bought it, the WaPo was more Jew than the Jew York Times.

RiverRoad's picture

So hostage-taking works.

MFL8240's picture

Should have been told return ASAP or your country becomes a parking lot!

whoknoz's picture

always the US/West gives up more than it receives: in this case, 4 to us, 6 to them...and there is dismissal by the Left that we project weakness?...

Urban Redneck's picture

Your math is off... ...more like 12 to the US (10 navy + 4 dual citizens) and 6 to Iran. Sort of opens the door to a whole different line of subterfuge behind the recent "incident", given that the possibility of a "prisoner swap" between Iran and the US has been floated around for months, but dual-citizens create "optics" issues for any swap, when they are citizens (property) of the governments on both sides of the transaction...

Everyone (sort of) saves face, or appears to cave (less) to the other side...

Pheonyte's picture

Way off topic, but here's a little something for our resident BitCoin fans to chew on:

Savvy's picture

Saudi Arabia and Iran being shoved closer to war.


Qui bono?

newworldorder's picture

Ultimately it will not end with those two nations. The Sunni - Shia devide has been itching for a final fight throught the centuries. The fight for oil dominance, which lies in primarily Shia countries, is just the icing on the cake.

hound dog vigilante's picture

The Saudi (royal) regime's days are numbered. And now that Iran is out of the int'l trade doghouse, the over/under on the House of Saud is probably a matter of months rather than years, IMO.

It may not end w/ Iran(Shia) vs. Arabia(Sunni+Wahhabi), but I honestly can't foresee any scenario (looking forward) wherein these two somehow avoid a messy & bloody conflict - with plenty of unpredictable proxy/peripheral consequences - and I expect it will happen VERY soon after the Saudi regime falls...

The obvious follow-up question becomes which side the West (US & Europe) supports in such a conflict (and just how tangible that support would be). The obvious answer is no longer obvious, IMO. And we all know which side Russia will support, which makes things very dicey indeed...


I'd love to see/hear opinions of others here who've been to the ME region recently & have add'l experience/knowledge to add...



g'kar's picture

ain't it nice for iran to have an iranian named jarrett in the whitehouse

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) g'kar Jan 16, 2016 5:54 PM

Nice as Arizona has Panamanian senator in US Senate.

If ever visiting reality, might want to note the Jarrett woman descended from Chicago political/crime family and not Iranian.

Iran not deserve being cheapened by fictious association with Chicago criminal.

lester1's picture

Iran wants their $150,000,000,000 that Obama/Kerry is going to give them. They don't want anything to get in the way of that.


So lets see.. Obama gives Iran $150 billion, and allows ISIS to get rich selling oil. You have to wonder where his loyalties are.

Baron Munchausen's picture

This is a horseshit neocon talking point. No one is giving Iran $.

As it is iran is sanctioned for doing what it is legally entitled to do, while israel, which has hundredsmof nukes, is not sanctined ever for egregious war crimes, violations of conditins of its admission to the in, violations of the geneva conventions, apartheid colonialism, etc.

Iran still doesnt have nukes. Despite 20 years of claims they were months away by Israel and its amen corner

Nutty yahoo was real sure about iraq working on nukes and other goodies which they were nOt in fact working on. By the way that 'reactor' israel bombed? Absolutely zero evidence it was desogned or intended to produce weapons grade material - so said both us
And in inspectors in 2004.

and having every reason to want them given historical is, uk, and israeli aggression against them

Youre right on isis - but thats because isis is a zionist proxy...

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Iran has had nukes for years; who do you think funded the Pakistani nuclear efforts? In that sense, the sanctions are indeed a joke.

I don't necessarily blame 0bama for negotiating with Iran to end the sanctions, which are a charade; what I do blame him for is getting absolutely nothing back in return. The "deal" is so one-sided, you really have to wonder which side 0bama is actually on.

bonin006's picture

The USA gave Pakistan some $10 Billion USD to "fight terrorism", which Pakistan used to cover the cost of developing the nukes, plus they sold the technology to help North Korea develop nukes.

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) Buckaroo Banzai Jan 16, 2016 5:58 PM

And evidence you have for these phantom atom bombs?

No, did not think so...

hound dog vigilante's picture

"who do you think funded the Pakistani nuclear efforts?"

The US/UK handed nukes+technology to Pakistan. Get your facts straight.

newworldorder's picture

So, what is your most fervent view? Are your pro Iran or against Israel?

ack's picture

Hmmm. Gotta pass on that one big boy. Was a time the answer was simply "Am PRO America". Now that's same as saying "Am PRO Israel". Next question..

Amy G. Dala's picture

His loyalties are to the persian-speaking Valerie Jarrett.

hound dog vigilante's picture

Persians speak Farsi, not 'persian'.

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) lester1 Jan 16, 2016 6:21 PM


Iran wants their $150,000,000,000"

A true statement. Is their money all along, US government forced banks to disallow Iran access to accounts.

"So lets see.. Obama gives Iran $150 billion"

Bzzzzzzt, wrong. Nobody any money gives them. Removal of fraudulous sanctions allows them accounts to access.


Early Retirement's picture
Early Retirement (not verified) Jan 16, 2016 11:21 AM

"Hostages"? Is Jonathan Pollard a "hostage"? You need to check yourselves, "Tyler"s. You hate Obama so much you embarrass yourself here, as Iran is the only area Obama has gotten it right. Your new Saudi friends will be happy to have you tied down and do to you as they do to their goats, before having you beheaded for not showing sufficient pleasure.