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Italy frees arrested Iranian reporter

30 April 2010 0:31

Hamid Masouminejad, an accredited Iranian journalist held in Italy on charges of arms smuggling, has been released, says a top Iranian official.

Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, head of the High Council of Iranian Expatriates, said Masouminejad was released on Thursday through the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Office’s “diplomatic efforts.” He did not give more details about his release.

A senior correspondent for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) in Rome, Masouminejad, another Iranian national, Ali Damirchiloo, were arrested on March 3, 2010 on charges of illegal arms trafficking.

The IRIB reporter, however, has dismissed the accusation in a meeting with the Italian prosecutor.

On Wednesday, Majid Jafarzadeh, a senior aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that Italian officials had agreed to release Masouminejad on bail and place him under house arrest pending his trial.

The Italian police claimed the arrested individuals transported weapons to third countries such as Britain, Switzerland and Romania before shipping them to Iran.

The Iranian government has rejected the accusations and described his arrest as a “Mafia-style tactic” to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.

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