Iran General NewsIran renews demand for France to free businessman

Iran renews demand for France to free businessman

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ImageAFP: Iran renewed its demand on Tuesday for France to release an Iranian businessman who is accused by the United States of having purchased sensitive electronic components and exported them to Tehran. ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — Iran renewed its demand on Tuesday for France to release an Iranian businessman who is accused by the United States of having purchased sensitive electronic components and exported them to Tehran.

"The innocence of (Majid) Kakavand is evident and we urge France not to be trapped in American propaganda and release him," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters at his weekly press conference.

The 37-year-old Iranian engineer was arrested at a Paris airport in March last year following a holiday in France but was later released on bail.

A French court is currently holding hearings on a US request to extradite him on suspicion of having exported electronic components to the Islamic republic from Malaysia.

On February 17, the French court asked for expert advice on the technology allegedly exported to Iran by Kakavand before deciding whether to extradite him to the United States.

The court asked the DGA arms agency and economy ministry experts to determine whether the goods supposedly purchased by Kakavand could be used for military purposes as dual-use technology under European legislation.

The French court is to hold another hearing on March 31.

Mehmanparast said that "when the purchase was made, France had not banned such sales" to Iran.

Kakavand's case comes at a time when France is seeking the release from Iran of 24-year-old French academic Clotilde Reiss, who has been tried on charges of acting against Iranian national security.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has linked Reiss's release to the fate of Iranians held in French jails.

Another Iranian, Ali Vakili Rad, convicted of the 1991 murder of the Western-backed shah's last prime minister, Shapour Bakhtiar, is awaiting a decision next month on a parole request.

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