A Massachusetts man who was detained for 40 days in Iran has been released and is on his way home, United States officials said Saturday.
Matthew Trevithick, a Hingham native, was released independently of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran that took place just hours before the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal.
Trevithick, 30, went to Iran in September for a four-month language program at an institute associated with Tehran University, his family said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. It said he was held for 40 days in Evin Prison, but gave no reason for his detention.
"We are profoundly grateful to all those who worked for his release and are happy for all the families whose loved ones are also heading home," the statement said.
Trevithick's mother, Amelia Newcomb, declined to provide further details when reached by email.
Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the Wilson Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, said it's not completely clear why Trevithick was detained. Trevithick was Wright's research assistant at the Wilson Center in 2009, and the two have remained friends, she said.
Wright said she last saw Trevithick about a year ago, when they traveled to the Syrian border together for an article Wright was working on.
"He's a very congenial, outgoing guy. He was a champion rower. He's really interested in the Middle East," Wright said.
Trevithick's website says he attended Boston University and coached rowing teams in Iraq and Afghanistan while working abroad. That work included time at the American University of Iraq and the American University of Afghanistan, where he was the communications director.
Trevithick is the co-founder of SREO, a nonpartisan research center that provides objective analysis on the humanitarian crisis in the region. He had taken a leave of absence from SREO in September 2015 to build on his fluency of Dari, a language closely related to Farsi that he learned while living in Afghanistan for four years.