Iranian Professor Sirous Asgari, who was acquitted of industrial espionage by a U.S. court in November 2019, has returned to his homeland, the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reports on Wednesday.
The charges against Asgari were brought in 2016 while he was in Ohio on a business trip from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Subsequently, Asgari said, he was placed in a detention center in the state of Louisiana, where he was kept in unsanitary conditions and denied the right to return to his homeland despite the withdrawal of the charges.
The day before the Iranian Foreign Ministry specified that the return of 59-year-old Asgari to Iran was postponed because he was infected with coronavirus. At the same time, the Ministry denied the assumption that sending Asgari to Iran was part of the prisoner exchange with the U.S.
Later on, the Iranian media circulated footage of Asgari wearing a mask, in which he is reunited with his family upon arrival in Iran.
In May, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said he was ready to conduct a full prisoner exchange with the United States without any preconditions.
Prior to that, in 2019, Tehran and Washington, relations between which have sharply deteriorated in recent years, exchanged the American student Xiyue Wang, who spent three years in Iranian custody on charges of espionage, for Iranian biologist Massoud Suleimani, who was accused in the United States of violating the American sanctions regime.