FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Relations between the United States and Iran appear to be improving.
Five American prisoners have been released Iranian custody, one is back in the US, three are at a military hospital in Germany and one decided to stay in Iran. The prisoner release followed the easing of sanctions against Iran after Iran agreed to slow its nuclear weapons program.
Congressman Jim Costa sees the prisoner release and the nuclear deal with Iran as a cautious step forward. "These are positive signs but still Iran is one of the largest exporters of terrorism around the world."
For Fresno Businessman, and Iranian immigrant Ali Nekumanesh the end of sanctions will help the people of Iran. "Iranians are among the most educated workers in the world but, unfortunately, the unemployment rate is very high, their currency has been crushed."
Costa applauded Secretary of State John Kerry's diplomacy with Iran and likened it to the improvement in US-Soviet Relations in the 1980'S, but said it's just a first step. "Let's not make nice over Iran, they did the right thing finally, but a long way has to be determined if they are ready to join the western world in stopping terrorism and honoring human rights."
In exchange for the release of five US prisoners in Iran, the US dropped charges against seven Iranians, accused of violating trade sanctions and canceled warrants against 14 others, and paid nearly $2 billion to settle a financial dispute. The US maintains the prisoner release was not part of the nuclear deal.
While tensions remain between the US and Iran, Nekumanesh says most of the Iranian people are ready to embrace America "I don't know about the Iranian government, but the Iranian people they love the United States," Nekumanesh said.