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As a result, at least some global economic sanctions against Iran were lifted.

The person in Iran, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said three of them were Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, pastor Saeed Abedini.

In recent months the Washington Post's editorial page criticized the administration of President Barack Obama for not tying the release of Rezaian to the nuclear deal.

Saboonchi, 34, was indicted in 2013 on charges of conspiracy and illegally exporting manufactured industrial products and services to Iran, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Faratel designs and builds uninterruptible power supplies for several Iranian government agencies, including the Iranian Ministry of Defense, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the Iranian Centrifuge Technology Company, according to the charges.

Bush praised the Americans' release but added: "The bigger issue is that we've legitimized a regime that shows no interest in actually moving forward with the so-called community of nations".

Born and raised in Iran, Abedini became a US citizen in 2010 but returned to Iran regularly.

The Iranian Fars News Agency quoted the Tehran's prosecutor as saying that four Iranian-American nationals were freed as world leaders arrived in Vienna to officially mark the end of worldwide sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on the country's nuclear program.

His family said his health deteriorated in prison, where he lost weight and suffered from high blood pressure, and that he was held for months in isolation without access to a lawyer. The official demanded anonymity in line with State Department practice. "I would appreciate for those who care about Saeed and our family to give us time for rest and healing and to respect our privacy".

In return, the U.S. will pardon or drop charges against seven Iranians - six of whom are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens - accused or convicted of violating U.S. sanctions. "We whittled down the list to exclude anyone that was charged with crime related to violence, with terrorism".

"We offered clemency to seven Iranians, six of whom are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens, who had been convicted or are pending trial in the United States". Moveover, 18 other journalists, all of them Iranian, languish in prison today.

The nuclear deal was finally implemented yesterday, with sanctions on Iran being lifted.

Kerry and other top aides to Obama, who was vacationing in Hawaii, convened a series of conference calls and concluded they could not risk losing the chance to free Americans held by Tehran.

"For all the bluster and bombast fashionable in some quarters, today's events underscore how important and-under-appreciated-diplomacy is", said David Axelrod, a long-time Obama advisor.

Very little is known about Khosravi-Roodsari, beyond that he was released with Rezaian, Abedini and Hekmati.

"They're getting seven people, so essentially they get $150bn plus seven, and we get four", the billionaire said. In September, he told CNN's Christiane Amanpour his country would be inclined to release American prisoners, including Rezaian, if the US released Iranians it is holding.

A fifth American, Matthew Trevithick, is also being released by Iran, U.S. officials said, but they said his release was not part of the negotiated prisoner swap.

His wife, Naghmeh Abedini, who grew up in Boise and lives there with the couple's two children, Rebekka, 9, and Jacob, 7, told the Washington Post on Saturday that she woke her two children up early at 7:30 a.m.to tell them of the news that their father had been released. He was arrested in 2012. "I call them the 'hostages.' Our four people", Trump recalled as he spoke at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention. The Iranians have always denied knowing his location. "Iran has also committed to continue cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson".

It also represented a reversal of the past five years of US policy, during which USA law enforcement prosecuted illicit trade with Iran, even in common consumer items, as a threat to national security.

Asked whether the sailors' detention complicated the prisoner exchange, a senior US official said "it didn't at all", suggesting that the "budding relationship" between Washington and Tehran helped resolve both matters.