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Iran frees 'American-Lebanese spy'

Tehran has freed Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese national and American resident, who was serving a 10-year jail term in Iran for espionage, but there is no clear indication of a wider prisoner swap deal with the US government.
Freed Lebanese businessman Nizar Zakka, who had been detained in Iran since 2015, gestures as he arrives at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir - RC115C2D85E0

Lebanese national and US green card holder Nizar Zakka arrived in Tehran upon invitation from Iran's Vice Presidency for Women and Family Affairs to attend an entrepreneurship conference in 2015. The information technology expert and businessman was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on accusations of "collaborating with the United States government." Nearly a year later, he was found guilty of espionage and handed a 10-year jail term.

Recent speculation about his impending release ultimately proved true and Iran's judiciary ordered Zakka to be "conditionally released" June 11. Under Iran's penal code, a conditional release may be granted after the convict has served a third of a jail term of 10 years or less and is found by the judge to have demonstrated "good demeanor" during imprisonment.

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