14 Iranian fishermen were released from the captivity of the al-Shabaab militant organization, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the US State Department, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Sunday.
The fishermen, who had been captured by the group in international waters near Somalia, were freed following protracted negotiations between Iran's Foreign Affairs Ministry and a representative of Iran in Kenya and Somali government officials, elders and leaders.
A special ceremony was held at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran in honor of the fishermen's return. The event was attended by representatives of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, according to IRNA.
Following the celebration, the fishermen were driven to their homes in Chabahar.
Arabic news channel Al-Arabiya speculated based on earlier reports that the men may have been abducted by pirates and then given to al-Shabaab.
Somalia killed al-Shabaab co-founder
Reuters reported in October that the government of Somalia had announced that it had killed Abdullahi Nadir, one of al-Shebaab's co-founders.
Reuters contributed to this report.