Iran Swaps Jailed British-Australian Academic for 3 Iranians Held Abroad

Iran has released a British-Australian academic who had been detained in Iran in exchange for three Iranians who were held in another country, according to Iranian state TV. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a University of Melbourne lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was detained, was sent to a Tehran prison more than two years ago after receiving a 10-year sentence for espionage.  She is among several people from Western countries who were detained in recent years in Iran on espionage charges that rights groups and their families maintain are groundless. State TV has described the detained Iranians as “economic activists,” while a state TV-affiliated website described them as a businessman and two citizens who were detained “on baseless charges.” The Young Journalist Club news website provided little information about the Iranians, but it reported they were held for trying to avoid U.S. sanctions that were imposed on Iran two years ago when the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement.  Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals in recent years, primarily on espionage charges. Rights activists contend that Tehran has detained dual nationals to secure concessions from other countries. Iran has denied holding people for political reasons and accused many of the detainees of espionage. The British government did not immediately comment on Moore-Gilbert’s release. 

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