TEHRAN | The scientific iranian Cyrous Asgari, released after several years of detention in the United States, is back in Iran, one of the few inmate — on both sides — to have been released out of the framework of an exchange of prisoners between the two countries enemies.
Information is given on Wednesday by the agencies iranian Tasnim, Isna and Mehr who publish on their account Telegram respective a photo of Mr. Asgari wearing a surgical mask and embracing a veiled woman.
Researcher at the University of technology, Sharif, Tehran, M. Asgari, 59 years old, seems to have been dropped out of the framework of an exchange of prisoners, a rare occurrence between Iran and the United States who have no diplomatic relations since 1980.
Iran holds at least five Americans, while nearly a score of Iranians are imprisoned in the United States.
Accused in 2016, theft of trade secrets during a visiting academic in Ohio, Mr. Asgari was acquitted in November 2019. Despite this, he remained incarcerated in the United States, apparently for reasons related to immigration laws.
Last march, the researcher of iran told the british daily The Guardian that the police of the u.s. immigration and kept him in a detention centre in Louisiana without basic sanitation facilities, and refused his return to Iran in spite of his acquittal.
The u.s. State department has not reacted to the release of Mr. Asgari.
But in a gazouilli Tuesday, the head of the department of homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli, has assured that the case of the researcher iranian was not linked to that of Michael White, an ex-military american detained in Iran and released in march, thanks to a permission for reasons of “medical” on the condition that he does not leave the country.
According to Mr. Cuccinelli, the United States tried to deport Mr. Asgari since 2019, but had been “delayed at every step by the iranian government”. Ten other Iranians are currently being detained by the police at immigration waiting to be deported, he added.
On Monday, foreign Affairs, iran had announced that the record of Mr. Asgari was closed and that he would be back shortly.
“Good news, a plane carrying Dr. Cyrous Asgari took off to America. Congratulations to his wife and to his family,” wrote the next day the head of the diplomacy of iran Mohammad Javad Zarif on his account Instagram.
Last month, Tehran had reported that Mr Asgari had contracted the new coronavirus in detention.
On Tuesday, the spokesperson of foreign Affairs of iran, Abbas Mousavi, has said that the contamination and the judgment part of the flights because of the pandemic had delayed his departure for the United States.
Iran has recently called for a global exchange of prisoners with the United States, who now hold 18 Iranian, according to a list compiled by AFP from official press releases and press information.
Several arrests or convictions of Iranians held in the United States after president Donald Trump has denounced in 2018 the international agreement on the iranian nuclear 2015 and re-established heavy sanctions against Tehran.
The tensions in iranian-american has continued to escalate since then and the two countries have appeared twice on the brink of direct confrontation: in June 2019, after the destruction by Iran a drone u.s. in the Gulf, then in January 2020 after the assassination, in a striking american in Baghdad, the powerful general of the iranian Qassem Soleimani.
The exchange of prisoners, however, have taken place.
Switzerland, which represents U.s. interests in Iran was in the frontline during the last trade date in December 2019: an american scholar of chinese origin, imprisoned in Iran for more than three years, Xiyue Wang, and a professor of iranian specialist on stem cells held in the United States from 2018, Massoud Soleimani, had been released.