Iran says scientist jailed in US to return in days
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Iran's foreign ministry said Monday that Sirous Asgari, a scientist jailed in the United States, is set to return to the Islamic republic within days.
"Dr. Sirous Asgari's case has been closed in America and he will probably return to the country in the next two or three days," ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency. "That is, if no issues or obstacles come up," he added.
A US court accused Asgari in 2016 of stealing trade secrets while on an academic visit to Ohio but he was acquitted of the charges in November. Iran's foreign ministry said last month that Asgari had contracted the novel coronavirus while in US custody.
The scientist told British newspaper The Guardian in March that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was keeping him in a detention centre in Louisiana without basic sanitation and refusing to let him return to Iran despite his exoneration.
Both countries hold a number of each other's nationals behind bars and have recently called for them to be released amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Iran is battling what is the Middle East's deadliest outbreak, while the US has reported the highest total number of virus deaths worldwide.
Iran is holding at least five Americans and the US has 15 Iranians in detention, according to a list compiled by AFP based on official statements and media reports.