US businessman freed in Iran

A US businessman jailed for over two years in Iran on accusations he passed money to an anti-regime terror group was freed on Saturday from the country’s notorious Evin prison, US media reported.

CNN said Reza Taghavi’s lawyer confirmed that the 71-year-old, who lives in Los Angeles, had been released.

ABC News spoke to Taghavi after he left the prison, which is also where American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer are being held.

“Sometimes I feel relief, sometimes I feel angry,” he told the US network. “What happened? Two and a half years for what?” he said.

“I’m 71 years old, I don’t have time. Two and a half years is a long time for a 71-year-old man to be in jail,” he said.

Mr Taghavi was arrested in May 2008, accused of passing $US200 ($202) to the “Tondar” group, which Iran classes as a terrorist organisation.

Mr Taghavi argued that he passed along the money believing it was a gift for someone in need. ABC said Iranian authorities eventually came to believe his account.

“I didn’t do anything wrong, someone just asked me take this money to help someone,” he told the news network.

Mr Taghavi said his confinement was exhausting but the worst part was not knowing when he was going to be released.

“It was very hard, every day, counting the days, and thinking it’s going to be soon,” he told ABC. “I was told it’s going to be next week, nothing happens. It’s going to be next week, nothing happens.”

He was reunited with his wife Mahnaz yesterday and the pair told ABC they plan to return to the US.

“All I want is to take him home to Los Angeles to see his children, his family,” she said.

“I’m going to start to forget what happened,” Mr Taghavi said. “I want to put everything behind me.”

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