[JURIST] Iran agreed Saturday to release four US citizens in exchange for seven Iranians being held in the US for violating sanctions against Iran. Among the US citizens being released is Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian [advocacy website] who has been held since July 2014 and was convicted [JURIST report] in October on spying and other charges. The prisoner exchange comes as international sanctions against Iran were lifted Saturday as part of the nuclear agreement [JURIST report] reached earlier this year.
The human rights conditions of journalist and others in Iran have continued to be an matter of concern worldwide. In November UN rights experts stated that authorities in Iran [JURIST report] should cease arresting, prosecuting and harassing journalists and online activists and the country should provide a safe space for freedom of expression. In October the UN released a report stating that Iran's human rights situation remains alarming despite the signing [JURIST reports] of the nuclear deal earlier in October. In May UN human rights experts condemned [JURIST report] the growing number of executions in Iran in recent years. According to the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran and on extrajudicial executions, Iran had executed approximately six people per day between April 9 and April 26 and 350 total up to that point.