Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has praised Switzerland’s role in facilitating what seems to be a prisoner exchange between Iran and the United States, in which American Navy veteran Michael Ray White and Iranian doctor Majid Taheri were freed.
“Mr. Michael White, who had been sentenced to prison in Iran for security crimes and in a lawsuit brought by private plaintiffs, was released after satisfying the plaintiffs in respect to the cause of action while being granted Islamic mercy for his other crimes,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.
“He was released from jail given the time served and in respect of human rights considerations, and left Iran on Thursday,” the spokesman added.
“After the coronavirus outbreak, upon the general directive of the Iranian Judiciary Chief, White was granted furlough, but as long as he had no relatives in Iran, he was handed over to the Embassy of Switzerland, which protects the US interests in Iran, upon the embassy’s request,” Mousavi noted.
“As he had some symptoms of the virus, he was under full medical supervision and treatment during this time, and after making sure that his coronavirus test was negative, the freedom verdict was implemented,” he added.
“Simultaneous with White’s release, Majid Taheri, an Iranian scientist who had been imprisoned in the United States for false reasons, was released from prison as per the court ruling,” Mousavi added.
Mousavi finally appreciated the close cooperation of the Judiciary, the Intelligence Ministry, and the Secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council as well as the Swiss Embassy in Tehran who prepared the grounds for the release of Mr White and Doctor Taheri.
In a tweet on Thursday night, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the United States to release all Iranian citizens.
The developments come a day after Iranian scientist Sirous Asgari, a professor of material sciences at Iran’s Sharif University of Technology, returned home after spending about three years in detention in the US on trumped up charges of fraud and theft of information relating to his work with a university in Ohio.
Last December, Iran freed US citizen Xiyue Wang, who had been held for three years on spying charges, and the United States released Iranian stem cell scientist Massoud Soleimani.
Soleimani was on a sabbatical when he was arrested by US authorities upon arrival in Chicago a year ago and transferred to a prison in Atlanta, Georgia on charges of violating US sanctions on Iran.