Who Are The Seven Iranians Released In Exchange For The U.S. Prisoners?

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Four U.S.-Iranian dual citizens held by Iran were freed in exchange for seven Iranian nationals held in the U.S. for violating sanctions against Iran.

Iranian media lists those freed as: Nader Modanlou, Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afqahi, Arash Ghahreman, Touraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh and Ali Sabounchi.

Modanlou, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Maryland, was convicted in 2013 of conspiracy to provide illegal satellite services to Iran, laundering money and obstruction of bankruptcy proceedings. The scheme involved as much as $10 million dollars being transferred to Iran, for which Modanlou received 70 years in prison.

Mechanic, Faridi and Afqahi were charged in 2015 for their involvement in an Iranian spy ring tasked with illegally procuring sensitive technology which supported Iran’s nuclear program. The two men and their accomplices allegedly sent over $24 million worth of sensitive technology to Iran over five years.

Gahreman, a U.S.-Iranian dual citizen, was charged in August 2015 for attempting to provide Iran with illegal navigation equipment and radar technology for military defense systems. He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for his crime.

Golestaneh, an Iranian student, was charged in July 2015 with hacking into the computer networks of a Vermont-based aerodynamics company, attempting to steal software worth millions of dollars.

Ali Sabounchi, a U.S. citizen, was indicted in 2013 for attempting to illegally provide Iran with U.S.-made industrial products, some of which are used for military purposes. The goods in question were worth several millions of dollars.

Their freedom is part of a prisoner swap which saw four U.S.-Iranian dual nationals freed. Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. marine Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi Roudsari were all sent on a flight to Switzerland today as part of the deal.

The prisoner swap comes just days after the capture and release of 10 U.S. sailors by Iran in the Persian Gulf. (RELATED: Iranian Officials: Capture Of Sailors Is A Display Of Power Over The US)

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