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Diplomat: US Jails Iranian Chemist on False Accusations

Source: Fars News Agency, Tehran

Mostafa Rahmani

The United States has jailed an Iranian scientist in an effort to block his return to his homeland, Director of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Interests Section in Washington Mostafa Rahmani revealed on Sunday.

Speaking to FNA about a number of Iranian nationals who are illegally held in US jails, Rahmani pointed to the case of an Iranian chemist named Ali Amir-Nazmi Afshar who has been a resident of the US for the last 30 years and was arrested on baseless charges when he intended to return to Iran.

"The US arrested and convicted this innocent person on false charges just because he had announced that he wanted to return to Iran to start big changes in (Iran's) chemical industry," Rahmani said, explaining that the US court was forced to sentence him to five years of imprisonment on unfounded charges of tax evasion after it could not accuse Afshar of any crime.

The diplomat said the Iranian chemist has already finished his prison term and has been released on parole, but Washington does not allow the scientist to leave the US soil because they are afraid that he may help Iran further develop its chemical industry.

And they know that once he is through with his parole, the elderly scientist may not find the opportunity to come back to Iran alive due to his age.

Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that Tehran has prepared a list of Iranian nationals who are in US jails for false charges, and added that he is closely pursuing the issue.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, Mottaki said that the issue of the Iranian captives would be one of the main topics that he would discuss with the UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, during his visit to the UN headquarters.

Meantime, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in September that the US has detained and held eight Iranian nationals illegally and based on false allegations.

President Ahmadinejad said in an interview with the Russian TV that the Iranian captives were arrested in third countries by US agents under "false accusations" and transferred here to US jails.

"This is abduction and does not fit in with any legal system. They (Iranians) had traveled to other countries with official visas but were arrested by Americans," Ahmadinejad stated at the time,

"Americans have not observed international law. They should review their conduct and allow the detainees to return home."

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