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Tehran releases Anglo-Australian scholar in exchange for three Iranians

Tehran released, Wednesday evening, November 25, Anglo-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, detained since 2018 for spying for Israel. The 33-year-old researcher was released in exchange for three Iranians detained abroad. While the Iranian media presented them as ” businessmen “ “Arrested for having circumvented US sanctions” against Tehran, the Australian daily Sydney Morning Herald says they are Mohamad Khazaei, Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh and Said Moradi, imprisoned in Thailand since a failed assassination attempt on Israeli diplomats in 2012. On Thursday morning, authorities in Bangkok confirmed that they had authorized the transfer of the three Iranians.

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Iranian television broadcast a video showing Kylie Moore-Gilbert wearing a mask and gray scarf, looking worried, with two other women, including Australian Ambassador to Iran Lyndall Sachs. She is then seen getting into a van with her bags. The three freed Iranians arrive with an Iranian flag on their shoulders, as songs of praise resound for God and the Prophet. The three men wear caps that are low on the foreheads and surgical masks that completely hide their faces. One of them, in a wheelchair, with both legs amputated, could be Said Moradi, who lost both of his legs while he was preparing a bomb for the attack in Bangkok. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and his accomplice, Mohamad Khazaei, to fifteen years in prison.

Vague charges

A teacher of Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne, Kylie Moore-Gilbert was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards, the regime’s ideological army, as she was preparing to leave Tehran. She was then sentenced to ten years in prison. This prisoner exchange is the latest episode in Iranian policy, which consists in arresting foreigners or binationals on vague charges such as “espionage” or “undermining national security”.

Thus, a Franco-Iranian researcher, Fariba Adelkhah, was sentenced to five years in prison for “propaganda” against the regime. She is currently on parole at the home of her relatives in Tehran, with an electronic bracelet. She was arrested in June 2019, along with her companion, researcher Roland Marchal. The latter was released in March after spending nine months behind bars. His release coincided with that of Iranian Jalal Rohollahnejad. This engineer was arrested in France more than a year ago at the request of Washington, which accuses him of having circumvented the sanctions against Tehran.

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