Here's What Iran Got for Releasing an Australian

Thailand says it transferred home 3 men involved in botched 2012 bomb plot
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 26, 2020 11:33 AM CST
For an Australian's Freedom, Thailand Gives Up 3 Iranians
In this Feb. 20, 2012, file photo, an Iranian bomb suspect Mohammad Kharzei, right, listens to a Thai police officer as he is taken to verify the house where he and other Iranian compatriots rented in Bangkok, Thailand.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

(Newser) – Thailand said Thursday it transferred three Iranians involved in a botched 2012 bomb plot back to Tehran, as Iran released an Australian academic who was imprisoned for more than two years on spying charges. While Thai officials declined to call it a swap and Iran referred to the men as “economic activists,” the arrangement freed academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert and saw the three men linked to a wider bomb plot targeting Israeli diplomats return home to a hero's welcome. The bombers wore Iranian flags draped over their shoulders, their faces largely obscured by black baseball caps and surgical masks, reports the AP.

Under transfer agreements, returnees are supposed to serve the remainder of their sentences in their home country. Thailand has such agreements with about three dozen countries. However, Iranian state television video of the men's arrival suggested that a return to prison seemed unlikely. Thai police discovered the three Iranians' plot in 2012 when an accidental explosion blew apart their rented Bangkok villa. Police say one of the Iranians, Saeid Moradi, threw a grenade at officers that bounced backed and exploded, shearing away his legs. Moradi was sentenced to life for attempting to murder a police officer. Another man, Mohammad Kharzei, received a 15-year sentence for possessing explosives. The sentence of the third man, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, wasn't immediately known.

(Read more Thailand stories.)

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