1232 GMT April 04, 2020
Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that Khalili was freed on Sunday night “after a series of intensive diplomatic consultations and with the effective cooperation of the Judiciary and the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).”
He said Khalili had been arrested in Germany at the request of the US on the pretext of violating Washington's illegal sanctions and had been planned for extradition to the US, according to Press TV.
The spokesman said Khalili returned home with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was in Germany for the Munich Security Conference, after his release.
Late last year, Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani returned home following his release from a US prison in a prisoner swap.
Soleimani had been invited by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to lead a research program there but was arrested on arrival and secretly imprisoned without trial by the FBI on October 7, 2018. FBI reportedly arrested him on the charge that he had violated trade sanctions by trying to have biological material brought to Iran.
The charges dated back to September 2016, when Soleimani had seized on two former students’ plans to travel from the US to Iran as a chance to get recombinant proteins used in his research for a fraction of the price he would have had to pay at home. Recombinant proteins are found fundamentally in every medical testing and biological research laboratory.
The students were arrested while departing the US because they were carrying five vials of the proteins. They were charged in a court and released after posting bail because they held US citizenship.