Three Europeans returned home on Saturday a day after being released by Iran in a prisoner swap, and Tehran said there was no reason for Europeans to be arrested if they were not “exploited” by foreign security services.
The three men – two with dual Austrian-Iranian nationality and one Dane – were released on Friday by Iran in return for Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi as part of a swap in which Iran freed Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele last week, a Belgian government spokesperson said.
Assadi was convicted in Belgium in 2021 in connection with a foiled bomb plot in France and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Iran said the charges against him were fabricated.
After a stop in Oman and medical tests, the three Europeans were flown to Melsbroek military airport in Belgium, which had helped secure their release.
They arrived around 2:45 a.m. (0045 GMT) and were greeted by Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, Belgium’s Belga news agency reported.