Published: Wed, March 25, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iran, France carry out prisoner swap

Iran, France carry out prisoner swap

President Emmanuel Macron announced Saturday that Iran has freed Marchal imprisoned in the Islamic republic after France released Rouhollahnejad.

Authorities in the United States suspect Rohollahnejad of involvement in an attempt to export sensitive industrial equipment to Iran in violation of USA sanctions.

Mizan Online, the Iranian judiciary's news agency, revealed that Jalal Rohollahnejad had been swapped in exchange of Marchal on Friday.

France has for months demanded that Iran release Marchal and fellow researcher Fariba Adelkhah who were arrested previous year on the charge of plotting against national security.

In May 2019, a French court approved the extradition of Rouhollahnejad to the United States to face charges of attempting to illegally import U.S. technology for military purposes.

On March 11, a French court ordered Jalal to extradite the USA, but the government changed the court order and released the Iranian engineer.

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"Marchal was initially arrested in June and charged with" spreading propaganda" after he traveled to Iran to stop by Adelkhah, who's Franco-Iranian and frequently traveled to Iran for study on post-revolutionary European society.

France is also pushing for the release of a second French national detained in Iran, Marchal's companion and researcher Fariba Adelkhah. Marchal went to Iran to visit Adelkah and the pair were subsequently detained after accusations of espionage.

The support group has repeatedly said that the two are innocent of the charges they face.

Iran and France carried out a prisoner swap on Friday, Tehran has confirmed. Iran said Saturday that 123 more people had died from coronavirus, raising the country's official death toll to 1,556.

But he was finally released on March 20, the first day of the new Persian year, after more than a year behind bars in France.

British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, held since was among those who received furlough.

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