Judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili 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.
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 had been planned for extradition to the US.
Esmaili noted 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 jail 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.
Esmaili 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.
Late last year, Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani returned home following his release from a US jail 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.