'Iranian scientist Asgari will return home if his corona test is negative': Zarif

TEHRAN, May 11 (MNA) – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iranian scientist imprisoned in the US will return to the country after his corona test is negative.

He made the remarks after the session of the Iranian Parliament's National Security Committee on Monday.

Sating that Asgari has been acquitted of false charges, Zarif said that Iran's foreign ministry is working hard to return him home.

Mr. Askari is currently free but has residence trouble in the United States, he added.

If Mr. Askari's corona test is negative, he will return to Iran on the first flight, Zarif stressed.

So far, we have not received any response from the US government for the exchange of Iranian and American prisoners, the Iranian diplomat said.

Dr. Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor who spoke out in March about the unsanitary and “inhumane” conditions in detention, was placed in an isolation cell this week inside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) jail in Louisiana, Guardian reported.

His lawyers learned last week that his Covid-19 test was positive, and in a phone call with the Guardian, said Asgari had had a fever for days and cough.

He and his family are calling for his release to a medical facility where he can receive proper care.

Vice-Chairman of Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Javad Jamali Nobandegani on Saturday called on the UN Secretary-General António Guterres to take necessary actions for the release of Dr. Asgari.

Asgari’s story sparked international outrage after he spoke about his fears of Covid-19 spreading inside crowded Ice facilities with substandard cleaning practices and a lack of supplies. The professor, who has a history of respiratory problems, was exonerated in a US sanctions trial last year, but Ice has refused to release him or allow him to return to Iran. Iran’s foreign minister recently called for his release, as have some US lawmakers and human rights groups.

ZZ/ 4923017

News Code 158595

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