(WASHINGTON) — Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, who spent more than 500 days in detention in Iran, spoke on Thursday at the official opening of the paper’s new headquarters, thanking the paper and Secretary of State John Kerry for working hard to secure his freedom.
“I am happy to be home with you,” he told the assembled crowd.
Rezaian was freed earlier this month after being held on charges that included espionage. The paper vehemently denied this accusation and pushed hard for the U.S. government to secure his release.
In brief remarks to kick off the event, Rezaian said he is still learning details about the efforts made by the Post and the government to get the Iranians to free him.
“I’m truly fortunate to have this opportunity,” he said. “No other county would do so much for an ordinary citizen.”
During his captivity, the Post newsroom was decorated with #FreeJason signs and many reporters wore pins with the same message.
At Thursday’s event, Rezaian thanked his family, colleagues, the paper’s lawyers and its owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“To my colleagues at the Washington Post, you all are all awesome,” he said.
Kerry also spoke at the event, appearing to choke up at times and saying the day of Rezaian’s release by Iran one of the days he has “enjoyed most” as secretary of State.
“Jason we are all so delighted you are back,” he said.
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