Muscat: Oman announced on Friday that it has secured the release of an Iranian scientist detained by US authorities on suspicion that he was a conduit for dual-use equipment destined for Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Mojtaba Attarodi, who had been in American custody for over a year, arrived in Muscat on Friday morning after his release was successfully mediated by the Sultanate.
The official Oman News Agency (ONA), citing an official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the mediation was initiated on “humanitarian grounds” on the directives of the country’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos.
Professor Attarodi, an associate professor in the electrical engineering department at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, was arrested by US federal authorities on December 7 2011, upon his arrival in Los Angeles, California. The 55-year-old microchip specialist was accused of procuring sophisticated lab equipment in violation of US export laws.
According to the ONA report, mediation efforts were launched during 2012 at the behest of the Iranian government. Welcoming the Iranian scientist in the Sultanate, the Foreign Ministry said Attarodi would return to his native Iran upon undergoing health checks. The statement also thanked the US authorities for acceding to Oman’s mediation efforts.
Friday’s announcement marks the latest in a series of successes garnered by the Sultanate as a go-between in securing the release of US nationals held by Iran, as well as an Iranian national detained by Britain. Earlier this year, Oman successfully mediated the release of Iranian diplomat Nasratallah Tajik, who was held in the United Kingdom for nearly six years. US citizens Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, who were arrested as spies after straying into Iran during a hiking trip, were released during 2010 and 2011.