“Iran has been using hostage-taking as a statistical tool for four decades now. The Revolutionary Guard is shameful and believes it will bring results, ”said Karim Sadjadpour, senior fellow at the Carnegie International Peace Foundation’s Middle East program. “Modern Iranian tragedies include a society famous for its hospitality to foreigners and a system that looks at potential trade.”
Charles Reese, a friend of Ms Moore-Gilbert from Cambridge University, said she had felt anxiety in recent months after learning that Moore-Gilbert had been moved to Qarchak Prison south-east of Tehran in July. .
“We heard there were movements, but because we saw so few activities, we weren’t sure there would be any progress,” said Mr. Reese, who was in contact with Ms. Moore-Gilbert’s family.
Mr Reese said he had learned through a BBC journalist about Iran’s announcement of his release after hearing news in recent days that he did not want to believe. Since the arrest of Ms. Moore-Gilbert’s relatives, they have refused to comment on the academic’s fate.
The exchange of prisoners took place five months after Iran released a U.S. Navy veteran, Michael R. White, as part of an exchange of prisoners.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in September that Iran was ready to exchange more prisoners with the United States, but repeatedly denied allegations that his country was being held hostage as a political hostage and said the judiciary was independent.
There are currently at least half a dozen foreign and dual nationals in Iranian prisons: Iranian-American citizens, businessman Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, a former Unicef official; Morad Tahbaz, Iranian-American environmentalist; Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, British-Iranian charity at the Thomson Reuters Foundation; German-Iranian architect Nahid Taghavi; and Dr. Ahmad Reza Jalali, a Swedish-Iranian doctor and researcher.