Freed reporter Jason Rezaian: 'I want to catch up on basketball, Star Wars'

A smiling Jason Rezaian on Wednesday made his first public appearance since being released from an Iranian prison, briefly waving to a crowd of reporters in Germany and saying he "can't wait to get home".

Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter, appeared with his wife and other family members outside a medical hospital in Landstuhl, where he was undergoing examinations prior to his return to the United States.

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He also released a brief statement through the Post saying he wanted to "catch up with what's been going on in the world, watch a [Golden State] Warriors game or two, and see the Star Wars movie".

The California native found himself an unwitting participant in a much larger change in US-Iran relations. He was held for almost 18 months on spy charges that he, the Post and the US government adamantly denied. He and four other Iranian Americans were freed on Saturday, as part of final negotiations between Iran and the US hours before international sanctions on Tehran were lifted.

The lifting of the sanctions came after Iran agreed to a historic deal to significantly slow its development of a nuclear weapon program.

In his statement, Rezaian thanked the Swiss Foreign Ministry, the Swiss Air Force and physicians at Landstuhl. A Swiss Air Force jet flew Rezaian and other prisoners to Germany after their release. He said he was "feeling fine".


"I've spent a lot of my life writing about the United States and Iran, and I never imagined – and never wanted – to become a part of the story, particularly at such an extraordinary moment," the statement said.

"I want to get back to writing the US-Iran story at some point in the future. But I won't be saying anything further for a while. I hope everyone will respect my need for privacy as I take some time for myself and for my family."

Mr Rezaian and his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi, were arrested by Iranian security forces in July 2014. Salehi, also a journalist, was released in October of that year. Rezaian was convicted of espionage and other crimes three months ago.

As part of the deal that freed Rezaian, US President Barack Obama also agreed to pardon or commute the sentences of seven Iranians held by the United States. The US also agreed to drop efforts to seek the extradition of 14 Iranians.


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