Iran has released two Austrian-Iranian hostages with reports suggesting the regime is about to free other prisoners with dual-nationality.
The Austrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Kamran Ghaderi and Massud Mossaheb have been freed after years of persistent diplomatic efforts. They are among unknown numbers of diplomatic hostages held by the regime.
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said: "I am very relieved that we can finally bring Kamran Ghaderi and Massud Mossaheb home after years of arduous imprisonment in Iran. They are already on their way to Austria, where their families are eagerly waiting for them.”
Ghaderi was arrested in January 2016 upon his arrival in Iran from Austria for a routine business trip. In October 2016, the Iranian judiciary sentenced him to 10 years in prison for espionage, along with the dual and foreign nationals Siamak Namazi, Baquer Namazi, and Nizar Zakka.
Mossaheb, a 73-year-old was also serving a 10-year prison term over vague national security offences. The regime arrested Mossaheb in late January of 2019 when he traveled to Iran with a delegation from MedAustron, an Austrian radiation therapy and research firm seeking to establish a center in Iran. He had worked in Iran for the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1977–78, prior to the Islamic Revolution
Reuters says a Danish national was also released but it did not release his/her name. In a statement, the Belgian government said that the Danish person was arrested in Iran in November 2022 in connection with women's rights demonstrations.
After medical tests, the three will be flown to Belgium's military airport in Melsbroek following a stop in Oman.
Schallenberg thanked his Belgian counterpart Hadja Lahbib as well as Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi “for their valuable support," suggesting that the release was part of the recent Muscat-brokered prisoner exchange between Tehran and Brussels.
Asadollah Assadi, a former attaché at the Iranian embassy in Austria who was convicted of plotting to bomb a gathering of the exiled opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) near Paris on June 30, 2018, was released and arrived in Tehran last Friday.
Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele, who was detained last year and sentenced to 40 years in prison and 74 lashes for alleged “spying and cooperation with the United States, money laundering and smuggling $500,000 out of Iran,” was also released as part of the deal.