FRANKFURT, Germany — The sister of former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati arrived in Germany Monday to meet him following his release from Iran as part of a prisoner swap.
Hekmati's sister, Sarah Hekmati, was upbeat as she arrived at Frankfurt airport before heading toward the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where her brother was being treated along with Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and pastor Saeed Abedini.
The three Americans arrived in Germany late Sunday via Switzerland. A fourth stayed in Iran.
The prisoners were exchanged for pardons or charges dropped against seven Iranians.
Hekmati, a Flint native, was arrested in Iran in 2011 while visiting his grandparents. He was accused of being a spy, which his family has denied.
The U.S. will pardon or drop charges against the seven Iranians – six of whom are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens – accused or convicted of violating U.S. sanctions.
In addition, the U.S. will drop Interpol “red notices” – or arrest warrants – on 14 Iranian fugitives it has sought.
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders says the exchange shows “diplomacy can work even in this volatile region of the world.”
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio and other conservatives say Americans should never have been captured in the first place. In Iowa, Rubio blamed the White House’s willingness to do prisoner swaps in the past, saying governments take Americans hostage because they believe they can gain concessions from the Obama Administration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report