Lebanese businessman Nizar Zakka leaves Iran for Beirut after his release

Iran to hand over detained US resident to Lebanon – report

A Lebanese businessman with permanent U.S. residency who was imprisoned in Iran for several years for alleged anti-state activity was released Tuesday, his lawyer said. "However, Ibrahim said Iran's freeing of Zakka was not part of any wider deal", the Reuters news agency said. He was released amid heightened tensions between Iran and the USA after President Donald Trump withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Zakka is expected to head from the airport to the presidential palace where he will be received by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who had personally requested his release.

She says "The big question is there's several others and we want to see those people released as well".

It broadcast photographs of a man in military uniform it said was of Zakka at a USA base.

Zakka met with Aoun after landing in Beirut in the afternoon with security chief Abbas Ibrahim.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. The development comes at a time of increased tension between the United States and Tehran, though NBC News notes that it's unclear whether this might lead to the release of Americans and other foreigners held by Iran.

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He was held in Evin Prison, notorious for holding political prisoners, dual-nationals and academics.

This March 2013 handout image provided by the Friends of Nizar Zakka, shows Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese technology expert and advocate for Internet freedom, delivering a speech during the MENA ICT Forum conference in Jordan.

Shahindokht Molaverdi, an adviser to President Hassan Rouhani who as a vice president invited Zakka to Iran, told the AP in September that Iran's government had "failed" to help Zakka.

Zakka told reporters that the initiative to release him was "born in Lebanon" and "100% a national" one, but he acknowledged that it served to de-escalate tensions between the US and Iran.

"The relevant court has agreed to Nizar Zakka's conditional release and he will be handed over to Lebanese authorities", Mizan Online quoted judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili as saying.

Ibrahim told Reuters on Monday he was also working on securing the release of four Lebanese citizens detained in the UAE and Qatar, as well as the case of businessman Kassim Tajideen, who is in a U.S prison.

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