Iran Stem Cell Scientist Arrives Home after over A Year of Captivity in US (+Video)
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani arrived in Tehran after enduring over a year of imprisonment in the United States.
Soleimani arrived at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport on Saturday evening after he was released by the US in a prisoner swap. He was welcomed by his family members and Iranian officials upon his arrival.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accompanied the released scientist from Zurich where the swap took place.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, Zarif said he is "very happy that on National Students’ Day, one of the greatest professors and scientists of our country is returned home."
He added that Dr. Soleimani had been taken hostage by the American forces for 14 months "without any reason."
The US "arrested a university professor with 500 scientific articles without any reason" after it invited him and gave him a visa "to do research at the highest US scientific institute."
The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that Dr. Soleimani had been repeatedly offered by the United States to stay in the US instead of returning home but the “patriotic professor" turned down their request.
Zarif also thanked Iran's Supreme National Security Council, the Judiciary and security bodies for agreeing to the Iranian scientist's swap with an American who was held in Iran on espionage charges and was pardoned based on “Islamic compassion” and returned to the US.
"Over the past 40 years, the US has been trying to hinder Iran's scientific progress. The US’ maximum pressure has been pursuing such a goal," he said.
Zarif added that the science, progress and technology that the Iranian nation has managed to acquire trough its self-reliance are the "biggest thorn in the side of those who do not want this nation's prosperity."
For his part, Soleimani said Iran’s achievements in science and technology have made the US angry and that is the main reason behind Washington's animosity towards Tehran.
He called on Iranians to build up the country’s scientific front to further make the enemy disappointed.
He also thanked Iranian officials for securing his release.