Australia Releases Iranian Student after One Year in Jail

An Iranian university student detained in Australia since September 2018 has been released and returned home.

Reza Dehbashi who studied at the University of Queensland in Australia had been apprehended in September 2018 and remained in detention for 13 months on the baseless charge of sending American military equipment to Iran.

He was a student of the PhD program, and was finally released thanks to efforts by the Iranian diplomatic apparatus and Iran’s Embassy in Canberra.

After his detention, Iran’s then Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi announced that the issue was being reviewed and that Iran’s embassy in Canberra and the Australian embassy in Tehran were following up the matter.

At that time, Australia’s ABC news channel reported that the United States had charged an Iranian student at the University of Queensland with sending military gear to Iran (purchasing and sending to Iran modern radar equipment used to spot missiles and stealth jet fighters) and demanded he be extradited to the US.

Last week, Negar Ghodskani, another Iranian citizen arrested in Australia and extradited to the US was also freed upon a court ruling and returned to Iran. She had been behind bars in Australia for almost three years on charges of circumventing US sanctions on Iran and had been recently extradited to the United States. She was released upon a US court verdict.

The developments come as Iran has released British-Australian woman Jolie King and her Australian boyfriend, Mark Firkin, after dropping all charges against them.

The Australian foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, told reporters Thursday, “It is with some enormous relief that I announce that they have been released and returned.”

Payne said the Australian government held “very sensitive” negotiations with Iran over King and Firkin’s release and helped ensure they were treated appropriately while in detention.

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