I have waited a long time for this moment; long before I knew it would happen, how it would happen, and where it would happen. The freeing of Jason Rezaian and his fellow prisoners was the result of fourteen months of confidential negotiations in Geneva. Sometimes on a daily basis, my colleagues in Teheran and Washington were involved in the efforts that led to the prisoners being freed and in efforts to ease their lives in captivity. The Swiss people were as pleased as the Americans when the prisoners finally boarded one of our government airplanes in Iran and began their journey home.
Switzerland has represented the interests of the United States in Iran since 1980. Our nation plays that role as a neutral country: our neutrality does not mean that we turn our backs on the world, but that we actively try to play a useful role. We were overwhelmed by the many warm reactions in the United States from President Obama and Secretary Kerry to countless e-mails, letters and social media posts from American citizens.
Most important of all is having Jason Rezaian with us today and meeting with him as my colleagues and I did with the other freed prisoners.
Thank you all—and a special welcome to Jason Rezaian!
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