The Iranian foreign minister has lashed out at US for taking hostage innocent Iranian scientists under detention, saying the country refuses to release them even when its own courts have acquitted them.
The US even refuses to grant them medical release despite the coronavirus spread in the country and is keeping them in jail facilities with terrible conditions, Mohammad Javad Zarif added in a Twitter post on Friday in reaction to the Guardian’s interview with Iranian scientist Dr. Sirous Asgari, who despite being exonerated in a US sanctions trial, remains jailed by immigration authorities in an ‘inhumane’ jail which denies detainees masks and hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus spread.
Zarif called on the US to “release our men”.
“US has taken several Iranian scientists hostage—without charge or on spurious sanctions charges—& not releasing them; even when its OWN courts reject the absurd charges
US even refuses medical furlough—amid #covid19—for innocent men jailed in horrific facilities
Release our men,” his post reads.
Dr. Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor, was acquitted in November on federal charges of stealing trade secrets related to his academic work with a university in Ohio. Although the US government lost its case on all charges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has kept him indefinitely detained since the trial.
Asgari, 59, has told the Guardian that his ICE holding facility in Alexandria, Louisiana, had no basic cleaning practices in place and continued to bring in new detainees from across the country with no strategy to minimize the threat of COVID-19.
In a phone call from the Alexandria Staging Facility (ASF), he said he believed the only safe option would be to shut down the facility due to the deplorable conditions.