Michael White, a United States veteran who had entered Iran two years ago, was arrested and convicted of espionage, the managing director of the anti-espionage department at Iran’s Intelligence Ministry was quoted as saying.
White was released on Thursday and was finally expelled from Iran “because of deterioration of his illness and on compassionate grounds” after serving some two years in prison, he said.
“Certain United States officials … were seeking to take advantage of a possible death of White due to his chronic disease and fulfill their political objectives,” he said, adding that “the release of American convict prevented the United States from using the opportunity for an ‘inhumane behavior’ against Iran.”
The United States released on Thursday one Iranian scientist, Majid Taheri, who had been in the United States jail for “violating United States sanctions against Iran.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said that Iran has always welcomed the “humanitarian efforts that help release of Iranian hostages in the United States and elsewhere.”
However, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council on Friday dismissed speculation that the release of Iranian scientists jailed in the United States and Iran‘s move to free White from prison have been the result of negotiations between Tehran and Washington, according to Tasnim news agency.