‘I love my country’: Woman who was kidnapped and held for seven months in Iran

SANTA ANA, Calif.

— A woman who was held captive and tortured for seven hours in an Iran-backed militia unit for nearly a year has said she is not afraid of death.

Elena Khatami was freed Thursday after nearly four years in captivity, a week after she was released in a prisoner swap for an American hostage, her husband said.

Khatami said in a video posted on YouTube that she has no regrets and that her freedom is a “gift to the world.”

She said the ordeal, which began when she and her husband were arrested and tortured by Iran-linked militias in March 2015, has been a nightmare for her.

In the video, Khatamy can be seen talking about her experience.

“I love this country, I love my family, I want to thank everyone who has helped me through this,” Khatam said.

“It’s a gift to the people of the world.

This is a great blessing to the entire world.”

She was held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an Iranian-backed group, from late May 2015 until she was freed last October.

The U.S. and other nations have long accused Iran of supporting terrorism in the Middle East, a charge Iran denies.

Khatamed’s release was one of several victories in efforts to ease tensions between Iran and the West, with Washington signaling a new diplomatic stance.