Emotional Rezaian says "many people to thank" for release

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist imprisoned by the Iranian regime for 545 days, thanked his colleagues, family and the United States government, on Thursday for efforts that led to his and his wife's release.

"For much of the eighteen months I was in prison my Iranian interrogators told me that The Washington Post did not exist. That no one knew of my plight and the United States government would not lift a finger for my release," Rezaian said at the grand opening of the Washington Post;s new facility in Washington D.C..

"Each day since my release, I learn more about the efforts to gain our freedom, which began the moment Yeganeh and I were taken from our home and continue on in support of our reintroduction into the world. There are many people to thank," an emotional Rezaian said.

The United States Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the negotiations with Iran that led to the release of Rezaian and others at the ceremony.

Iran had released five American prisoners, including the Washington Post reporter, earlier in January 2016. The Americans were released as part of a prisoner swap deal with Iran.