German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, during the Munich Security ConferenceImage: Reuters/T. Kienzle
German citizen 'freed in prisoner swap'
February 18, 2020
The German man had been sentenced to three years in prison for taking pictures of "sensitive places." He was freed after German authorities released an Iranian citizen wanted in the US over alleged sanctions violations.
A German citizen serving a three-year prison sentence in Iran has been released as part of a prisoner swap, Iran's judiciary announced Tuesday.
The man was exchanged for Ahmad Khalil, an Iranian being held in Germany on suspicion of violating US sanctions, said Iran's judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili. Khalil had been arrested on a request from Washington and was subject to extradition to the US.
"We insisted that first the Iranian citizen should return home ... then the German citizen was allowed to leave Iran on Monday," Esmaili told a press conference in Tehran.
"We announced that we are ready to (release) this German national... on condition that they (the Germans) do not extradite our citizen to America."
The German government did not immediately comment on the apparent prisoner swap.
Two French academics who have been held in Iran since June are due to face court next month, Esmaili said. France has demanded French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah and her French colleague Roland Marchal be released, but Tehran has dismissed the call as foreign interference.