The week that changed U.S.-Iran relations, explained

Story highlights

  • A prisoner swap, progress in the nuclear deal ...
  • Here's everything you need to know about a chaotic weekend of diplomacy

(CNN)When Friday's business hours ended, President Barack Obama was still being accused by Republicans of apologizing to Iran after two small U.S. boats drifted into the country's waters, leading to 10 sailors being held. Now, those sailors have been released -- as well as five more Americans that had been imprisoned -- the U.S. sanctions on Iran have been eliminated and an international agency has certified that Iran is complying with its part of the nuclear deal.

Here's a recap of what's happened:

    Tuesday, Jan. 12

    Just hours before Obama's final State of the Union address, Iran seized two U.S. Navy boats and 10 sailors who had drifted into the country's territorial waters.
    Iran seizes U.S. Navy boats, detains 10 sailors
    Iran seizes U.S. Navy boats, detains 10 sailors

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    Wednesday, Jan. 13

    Iran released the sailors.
    Iran frees detained U.S. sailors
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      Iran frees detained U.S. sailors

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    Iran frees detained U.S. sailors 01:37

    Thursday, Jan 14

    A video of the U.S. sailors on their knees with their hands on their heads threatened to undercut the Obama administration's claim that their quick release demonstrated improved relations between Washington and Tehran.
    Growing anger after Iran broadcasts video of sailors
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    Growing anger after Iran broadcasts video of sailors 04:12

    Saturday morning

    The United States and Iran concluded months of secret negotiations and struck a massive prisoner-swap deal. Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former Marine Amir Hekmati, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari were released from Iranian custody in exchange for seven Iranians who were not convicted of violent crimes but of violating the sanctions ban against Iran.
    Iran releases four U.S. prisoners
    Iran releases four U.S. prisoners

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    Iran releases four U.S. prisoners 01:11

    Saturday morning

    A fifth American, Matthew Trevithick, was also released by Iran, though his release was not part of the negotiated prisoner swap.

    Saturday afternoon

    The International Atomic Energy Agency certified that Iran had fulfilled its obligations under the nuclear deal that six world powers struck with Tehran. The United States responded by announcing it would end its sanctions on Iran, freeing up $150 billion in frozen assets.
    U.S. lifts economic sanctions against Iran
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    U.S. lifts economic sanctions against Iran 03:22

    Sunday

    The State Department said it had agreed to pay the Iranian government $1.7 billion -- settling a case that had been tied up at the Hague Tribunal since 1981 after $400 million in Iranian assets were frozen along with diplomatic relations in 1979. The two countries agreed on a $1.3 billion compromise on interest.
    Oil wars: The view from Iran
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    Sunday afternoon

    A plane carrying the three Americans who'd wished to leave Iran after the prisoner swap was completed arrived on a U.S. Air Force base in Germany after a brief stop in Switzerland.
    Prisoners released from Iran arrive in Germany
    Prisoners released from Iran arrive in Germany

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    Prisoners released from Iran arrive in Germany 02:06