1150 GMT April 03, 2020
Judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday, “Unfortunately, an Iranian national, who had been engaged in business activities, was detained in Germany and was about to be extradited to the United States to be prosecuted,” for allegedly violating the US sanctions on Iran, Press TV reported.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that an Iranian national identified as Ahmad Khalili had been released from detention in Germany and returned home along with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was in the country for the Munich Security Conference.
The Foreign Ministry explained that Khalili had been arrested in Germany at the request of the US on the pretext of violating Washington’s illegal sanctions and was to be extradited to the US.
Esmaili said that Khalili had been released thanks to efforts made by the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the Judiciary.
“We announced [to Germans] our willingness to hand over a German national, who had been handed a prison term of three years because of engaging in unauthorized photography in forbidden locations in exchange for the Iranian citizen,” he added.
The identity of the German national is not known.
Esmaeili noted that Iran had insisted that Khalili should return home first, and the German national would be sent back to his country a day later.
Also 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 in October 2018. FBI reportedly arrested him on the charge that he had violated trade sanctions by trying to transfer biological material to Iran.