Iran releases two Iranian-Austrian prisoners and one Danish

TEHRAN – The Iranian Judiciary on Friday released two Iranian-Austrian nationals and one Danish prisoner.

Iran’s human rights chief Kazem Qaribabadi confirmed their release on Friday evening.

Austria and Denmark had earlier in the day confirmed the release of prisoners and thanked Oman and Belgium for their help in getting them released.

Qaribabadi said Massoud Mossaheb and Kamran Ghaderi- the two Iranian-Austrian citizens – had each been sentenced to 10 years in prison on espionage charges.

The Iranian Judiciary said Mossaheb, who acted as the secretary general of the Iran-Austria friendship society, was in contact with foreign spy services of Germany and Israel.  

Mossaheb was giving information about Iran’s military, nuclear, nano and health activities to foreigners and was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2020, the Judiciary stated. It added Ghaderi had also been sentenced for 10 years.

Reportedly, Ghaderi had been spying for the United States who was arrested in 2016.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Friday that he was “very relieved” that Ghaderi and Mossaheb were being brought home after years of “arduous” detention in Iran, Al Jazeera reported.

Denmark’s Foreign Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, said he was “happy and relieved that a Danish citizen is on his way home to his family in Denmark after imprisonment in Iran”.

He did not name the person, saying the former prisoner’s identity was “a personal matter” and he couldn’t go into details”.

Løkke Rasmussen thanked Belgium and said Oman “played an important role”.

Schallenberg thanked the foreign ministers of Belgium and Oman for providing “valuable support” without elaborating on what form it took.

An Oman Royal Air Force Gulfstream IV, which had been on the ground in Tehran for several days, took off shortly before the announcement, Al Jazeera reported.

After a stop in Oman and medical tests, the three were flown to Belgium’s military airport in Melsbroek, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said.

Oman has good relations with both Iran and Western countries and has acted before as a mediator. The releases come after Omani Sultan Haitham bin Tariq visited Iran on his first trip there since becoming the Arab nation’s ruler in 2020.

Last week, a prisoner exchange between Belgium and Iran saw the release of a Belgian national called Olivier Vandecasteele.

In exchange, Belgium freed Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, who had been imprisoned in the country since 2018 on charges of trying to bomb an MKO rally outside Paris.


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