Iran released a British-Australian academic, whom it accused of espionage, in exchange for holding three Iranians abroad, according to state television in the country.
Kylie Moore Gilbert had been on a hunger strike and spent extended periods in solitary confinement after being sentenced to 10 years in prison.
She has vehemently denied the charges and confirmed her innocence.
Iranian state television showed a video of her wearing a gray headscarf, sitting in what appears to be a conference room at a Tehran airport, with a blue face mask under her chin.
Three men were also photographed holding Iranian flags on their shoulders, and they were described as “economic activists”, and they were received by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi.
Dr. Moore Gilbert was arrested in September 2018 after attending an academic conference in Qom, 90 miles south of the capital.
She was recently transferred to Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran, which is a notorious desert prison Bad conditions and overcrowdingHer health was said to be deteriorating.
Her husband, Richard, said the apparent release of Dr. Moore Gilbert showed that there might be “light at the end of the tunnel” by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has also been imprisoned in Iran, but was provisionally released in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Ratcliffe said the news about Ms. Moore Gilbert was “a nice shock and Nazanin was really happy when I told her.”
“I think it is possible on a selfish level that there is always some kind of bitter sweetness I wonder when our turn will come. Of course there is no queuing, these things happen in random order.”
“The truth is, whenever there is movement, there is hope.
“I don’t know what that means to us. It’s definitely a good thing for Kylie and it’s definitely a good thing for all of us to do deals.”
Amnesty International in the United Kingdom said that the release of Dr. Moore Gilbert was a “great source of relief” and called on the government to pressure the Iranian authorities to release other detainees.
“Let us now make this Christmas a reality for Nazanin as well,” said Tulip Siddiq, Member of Parliament for Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe.