Iran releases U.S. permanent resident Nizar Zakka, lawyer says

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A Lebanese man with permanent U.S. residency who had been imprisoned in Iran since 2015 on spying charges that his family dismissed as baseless was released Tuesday, according to his lawyer.

IT expert Nizar Zakka, 52, was arrested in Tehran in September 2015 after being invited by the Iranian government to attend a conference. He had been living in Washington, D.C.

“After more than 1,350 days in captivity in Iran, we have received excellent news: Mr. Nizar Zakka is a free man,” lawyer Jason Poblete said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. “Nizar looks forward to reuniting with family and friends. Nizar expresses his sincerest thanks to those who never forgot him.”

Poblete also told NBC News that his client was aboard a plane to Lebanon.

Earlier, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said that Iran would hand Zakka over to Lebanese officials.

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