Iran tried to stop journalist's wife leaving: brother

  • 19/01/2016
Ali Rezaian, brother of reporter Jason Rezaian, says the US "stuck to its guns" (Reuters)
Ali Rezaian, brother of reporter Jason Rezaian, says the US "stuck to its guns" (Reuters)

Iranian authorities "continued to manipulate" Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian until the moment he was released with four other Americans in a prisoner swap, his brother says.

A deal had been negotiated between Washington and Tehran for the swap but at the last minute, Iranian authorities tried to stop the Iranian-American journalist's wife, Yeganeh Salehi, leaving with him, Ali Rezaian told CNN on Monday.

"The Iranians, as they have done all along, continued to manipulate them, continued to try and mess with them and prevented Yeggie leaving for some period of time," Ali Rezaian told CNN in an interview from outside a US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

"The US stuck to its guns, they had said Yeggie had to come along with Jason and they got her out," Ali Rezaian said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday a delay in the departure of the plane taking some of the detainees from Iran was due partly to a "temporary misunderstanding" about whether Rezaian's mother, Mary, and his wife, who is also a journalist, were on the plane, as had been agreed.

They were later confirmed as being on the plane.

Rezaian and two other Iranian-Americans arrived on Sunday in Landstuhl where they were undergoing medical evaluations.

The prisoner swap followed the lifting of most international sanctions against Iran under a deal to curb Tehran's nuclear program.

Ali Rezaian said his brother had recounted to him some aspects of the 545 days he was held in Iranian custody after being accused of espionage.

He said Iranian authorities grilled him about fellow journalists who cover the country.

Washington Post editors flew to Germany to meet with Rezaian, 39, who appeared in a photograph on the newspaper's website and said he was feeling fine.

"I want people to know that physically I'm feeling good," the Post quoted Rezaian as saying. "I know people are eager to hear from me but I want to process this for some time."

Rezaian spent 49 days in solitary confinement before he was assigned a room-mate in a small cell, one of his editors, Doug Jehl, told CNN.

Other Americans freed with Rezaian included Amir Hekmati, a former US Marine; Saeed Abedini, 35, an Iranian-American pastor from Idaho; Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, who did not travel on the plane that left Tehran on Sunday; and Matthew Trevithick, who had gone to Iran in September to study Farsi.