FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on during a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow, Russia December 30, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
DUBAI (Reuters) – An Iranian professor imprisoned in the United States after being acquitted of stealing trade secrets has left the country and is on his way back to Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
“Hello friends. Good news. Dr. Sirous Asgari is in the air on a flight back to Iran. Congratulations to his wife and family,” wrote Zarif, who urged Washington in March to release Asgari, who he said was one of several Iranian scientists taken “hostage” by the United States.
In April 2016, materials science professor was indicted as U.S. federal prosecutors accused him of stealing trade secrets in violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
A federal judge in Ohio acquitted Asgari in November and U.S. authorities said earlier last month that the 59-year-old Asgari, who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in April, was expected to be deported by the United States once he received medical clearance to leave.