Iran to hand over detained United States resident to Lebanon

Mideast Iran Lebanese Detained

Both the Congress and the Senate passed resolutions in 2017 calling for the unconditional release of U.S. citizens and residents detained in Iran, including the Lebanese national.

General Security confirmed Zakka's imminent return and said he was set to meet Lebanese President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace.

Zakka, a computer scientist and Internet freedom advocate, was detained in Tehran after attending a conference at the invitation of the Iranian government.

A Lebanese businessman with permanent USA residency who was imprisoned in Iran for several years for alleged anti-state activity was released Tuesday, his lawyer said. Subsequently, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp-affiliated news agency said they would hand Mr Zakka over to Hezbollah officials, only for the judiciary to say he would be handed to Maj Gen Ibrahim.

Sarah Fallah, a Lebanese lawyer who represented Zakka, told HRW in March 2016 that Iranian authorities refused to let her visit her client.

He was held in Evin Prison, notorious for holding political prisoners, dual-nationals and academics.

"In this regard, no negotiations have taken place at any level with any person or any government", state TV said.

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Esmaili stressed Zakka's release was within "the frame of the law".

A top Lebanese security official is in Tehran to secure Zakka's release, which has been anticipated. "Also, the Lebanese Hizbullah group considered the approval of his freedom as prudent". He was convicted of spying and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In 2016, The Associated Press reported that Zakka's supporters wrote to then-Secretary of State John Kerry, stating Zakka traveled to Iran "with the knowledge and approval of the U.S. State Department, and his trip was funded by grants" from it.

Nizar Zakka, an information technology specialist who holds US residency, was sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined $4.2 million in 2016.

Ibrahim told Reuters news agency the release was not based on a wider prisoner swap.

"This is in no way approved by the government", Molaverdi said.

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