Tehran frees US businessman held over rebel bomb attack

A 71-year-old Iranian-American businessman who has been released after more than two years in jail, has described his first taste of freedom as a blessing "no one can imagine".

Reza Taghavi was released on Saturday from the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran after five rounds of unusual face-to-face talks between Iranian officials and his American attorney – a former US diplomat who ultimately persuaded authorities that his client had no links to a rebel group blamed for a deadly mosque bombing in 2008.

As a condition of his release, Iranian officials required Mr Taghavi to visit survivors of the mosque bombing in the southern city of Shiraz, about 550 miles south of Tehran. This was an apparent attempt by Tehran to press its grievances against Washington.

Last year, Iran hanged three men convicted of a role in the bombing. Mr Taghavi denies any ties to the suspected bombers, who Iran says receive support from the United States and other Western governments.

"Freedom is something so good. No one can imagine. I hope everybody enjoys his freedom," Mr Taghavi said in Tehran, adding that he would return to Iran. "From now on I will try to have control on my activities a little more," he said.

Mr Taghavi lives in southern California, where there is a large Iranian community, and has regularly visited Iran to conduct business and to see his family. He was jailed for passing $200 (£125) to someone suspected of links to a rebel group known as Tondar, which seeks to topple the Islamic system and was implicated in the mosque bombing.

Mr Taghavi was never formally charged and denies knowingly supporting the faction. He told AP Television News that he was given the money by an acquaintance in the United States and "brought the money here without knowing anything about it ... after a month, I was arrested for that because those people were the terrorists who bombed the mosque."

Mr Taghavi said he spent part of his time in Evin Prison in wards that held many detainees from the effort to crush dissent after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009. The American hiker Sarah Shourd, who was released last month, and two Americans detained with her, were also held there.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...