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'Washington Post' Reporter Held Captive In Iran Is Freed


Jason Rezaian is finally headed home. He's the correspondent for The Washington Post who was held in Iran for a year and half while U.S. diplomats, his family and his editors worked to win his release. Rezaian was one of the four Americans released this past weekend from prison in Tehran in a swap for seven Iranians held in U.S. prisons. With us now is Marty Baron. He's an editor of The Washington Post. He's waiting to see at a U.S. military medical facility in Germany. Thanks for joining us.

MARTY BARON: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: Well, you were there clearly to reunite with your reporter. What do you know about his health right now?

BARON: Well, our foreign editor Doug Jehl and I had an opportunity to speak with him separately last night. We found him in good spirits, was eager for human contact. He's a very social person. But that has to wait for a medical evaluation, and they started that last night. They're continuing their medical evaluation today, and we hope to have the opportunity to see him soon, perhaps later today. But we don't have any details on his medical condition at this point. And of course, that would be private to himself and his...


BARON: ...Close family members.

MONTAGNE: What about his family? Has he been able to talk to them?

BARON: Well, of course, you know, his mother and his wife were able to come with him after some difficulty at the end there. But they were able to join him on the plane and leave the country, and that was great. And so they were able to obviously talk to each other throughout the plane ride. But they're here at Landstuhl as well. They have not seen him since they arrived here at the medical center. But I would expect they'll be able to see him sometime soon. His brother, who has worked tirelessly on his behalf, Ali Rezaian, has spoken to him on the phone more than once but has not yet had the opportunity to see him in person just yet.

MONTAGNE: So this must be very though exciting because this has been such a long process. I mean, was there any point at which you thought oh, this can't be real?

BARON: Well, this is an awful ordeal. Unfortunately, it seemed all too real. And while we had some glimmers of hope along the way over the course of 545 days, those were few and far between. And the whole process Iran was atrocious and unjust from the very start. And so it was hard to be terribly optimistic. But - though we got word, you know, over the last several days that something might be happening. We got word via our own reporting and through contacts in Iran. And so Doug Jehl and I came here first to Geneva, and then we came to Germany. And, you know, it's just a joyous occasion that he's - that he's here, that he's free, that he's on safe ground and that we'll be able to see him soon.

MONTAGNE: And in terms of him going home - actually going home - when do you expect that to happen?

BARON: Well, we don't know. The process here is typically there's - typically they're in the hospital here for five days and sometimes as long as two weeks. A lot depends on just how - on how well Jason feels, what his condition is, the evaluation by the doctors here and his own wishes, of course, because he's a free individual now. So we'll just have to wait and see. He only arrived last night, so it's really too early to say.

MONTAGNE: Well, thank you very much for joining us.

BARON: Thank you for having me.

MONTAGNE: Marty Baron is the editor of The Washington Post, waiting to greet reporter Jason Rezaian, who's just been released from an Iranian prison after 18 months. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.