Zarif hails release of Iranian scientist from US jail
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed the release of a second Iranian scientist from US jails, urging Washington to release all Iranian citizens.
According to Tasnim news agency, Zarif said in a tweet on Thursday night “Pleased that Dr. Majid Taheri and Mr. White will soon be joining their families,” noting that another Iranian scientist had also been released earlier this week.
“Prof. Sirous Asgari was happily reunited with his family on Weds. This can happen for all prisoners. No need for cherry picking. Iranian hostages held in—and on behalf of—the US should come home.
Zarif said in December that Tehran was ready for a full prisoner exchange with the United States, tweeting: “The ball is in the US' court”.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi on Thursday night confirmed media reports that the US has released an Iranian physician after spending over a year in jail.
Dr. Majid Taheri, an Iranian scientist who had been imprisoned in the US on false charges, has been released from jail, the spokesman said in a statement.
Taheri, said to be a longtime resident of Florida, spent 16 months in prison for allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran.
Mousavi also said that US citizen Michael White, who had been sentenced to prison in Iran for “security crimes” and in a lawsuit brought by “private plaintiffs”, was released after satisfying the plaintiffs in respect to the cause of action while being granted “Islamic mercy for his other crimes.”
“He was released from jail given the time served and in respect of human rights considerations, and left Iran on Thursday,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry official added.
Mousavi said the US navy veteran, who had been detained in 2018, was on medical furlough in the Swiss embassy before being allowed to leave Iran.
US President Donald Trump also said on Twitter that White would be “home with his family in America very soon.”
Reuters quoted Taheri’s lawyer as saying that he was allowed to return to Iran “as part of an agreement between Iran and the United States that included American citizen Michael White's release.”
It came a day after Iranian scientist Sirous Asgari, a professor of material sciences at Iran’s Sharif University of Technology, returned home after spending about three years in detention in the US on trumped up charges of fraud and theft of information relating to his work with a university in Ohio.