British Council says Iranian employee freed, has left Iran

The British Council says an Iranian employee arrested in Tehran has been acquitted by a courtroom and is now within the United Kingdom

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An Iranian employee of the British Council arrested in Tehran and later sentenced to 10 years in jail over internationally criticized espionage fees has been freed and traveled to the United Kingdom, the group mentioned Wednesday.

Iranian authorities didn’t instantly acknowledge the discharge of Aras Amiri. However, it comes amid ongoing negotiations in Vienna between Iran and world powers, together with the U.Ok., over its tattered 2015 nuclear deal.

The British Council mentioned Wednesday that an enchantment her legal professionals made to Iran’s Supreme Court had been profitable. Amiri labored for the council’s London workplace.

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“We have at all times refuted the unique fees made towards Aras,” the council mentioned in a press release. “We are very pleased with her work in our London workplace as an arts program officer supporting a better understanding and appreciation of Iranian tradition within the U.Ok.”

In Tehran, her lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, confirmed that Amiri had been launched in an interview with The Associated Press. He mentioned Iran’s Supreme Court had decided that her earlier espionage conviction within the nation’s Revolutionary Court was “towards Shariah,” or Islamic regulation. He didn’t elaborate.

Kermani mentioned she left Tehran on Monday however had been free from jail in current months as she appealed a journey ban.

Iran introduced her conviction in 2019. Authorities there accused her of spying on cultural actions in Iran. The British Council beforehand mentioned she traveled to Tehran to go to household on a personal journey that did not contain her work on the nonpolitical group that works in arts, tradition and schooling.

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As tensions with the West simmer, Iranian authorities have arrested numerous British dual-nationals in recent times. Rights teams accuse Tehran of holding dual-nationals as bargaining chips for money or affect in negotiations with the West, one thing Tehran denies.

A British-Iranian employee for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained for over 5 years in Tehran. After finishing her sentence final yr, she was launched from jail — just for authorities to current new fees of “spreading propaganda towards the regime” that she vigorously denies.

Anoush Ashoori, one other twin British-Iranian nationwide, was sentenced to 12 years in jail concurrently Amiri and stays in detention.

A U.N. panel has criticized what it describes as “an rising sample involving the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of twin nationals” in Iran.

Amiri’s launch comes as world powers negotiate over Iran’s collapsed nuclear deal in Vienna. The negotiations have dragged on for weeks with little signal of progress below Iran’s just lately elected hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi. Iranian and Gulf Arab diplomats flew this week for talks in China, one other signatory to the nuclear deal.

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European delegates have warned that point is running out to avoid wasting the deal as Iran accelerates its nuclear program, spinning uranium in superior centrifuges as much as 60% purity — a brief step from weapon’s grade ranges.

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Associated Press author Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran contributed to this report.

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