Iran has released Australian couple Jolie King and Mark Firkin and dropped the charges against them.
The two social media influencers and bloggers were detained in July for taking illegal photos with a drone, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
“For Jolie and for Mark, the ordeal that they have been through is now over,” Payne said at a press conference in Sydney.
“They are being united with their loved ones which is a source of great relief and joy to everyone. I can tell you that they are in good health and in good spirits.” She added that they’ve returned to Australia.
“We are extremely happy and relieved to be back safely in Australia with those we love. While the past few months have been very difficult, we know it has also been tough for those back home who have been worried for us. We are grateful for the efforts of the Australian government in helping secure our release, and we thank our family and friends for their love and support.’’
They said they don’t want to comment further and asked the media for privacy.
“We know there are others who remain in detention in Iran, including a fellow Australian, and believe intense media coverage may not be helpful for efforts to bring them home,” the statement said.
King is a British Australian dual citizen, a source said.
In Iran, a permit is required to operate a drone that can take photographs.
The couple often feature drone shots on their YouTube channel, where they have more than 24,000 subscribers. Their most popular YouTube episode features them driving through the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan and has over 160,000 views.
According to their blog The Way Overland, the couple planned to travel from Australia, across Southeast and Central Asia, and on through to their final destination, the United Kingdom. The pair have also been documenting their travels on Instagram.