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Australian Couple Released in Iran after 3-month Detention

Australian Couple Released in Iran after 3-month Detention

Saturday, 5 October, 2019 - 05:30
A video grab of the couple after arriving in Tehran. Picture: YouTube

The Australian foreign minister announced on Saturday that an Australian-British blogger and her fiancé were released in Iran and were on their way home after three months of detention.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that the couple, Jolie King and Mark Firkin, are in "good health and in good spirits."

She said all charges against them had been dropped.

"For Jolie and for Mark, the ordeal they have been through is now over, they are being reunited with their loved ones, which is a source of great relief and joy to everyone," Payne said.

Perth-based King and Firkin had been documenting their journey from Australia to Britain on social media for the past two years but went silent after posting updates from Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan about three months ago.

They were held in detention in Tehran for almost three months after being arrested for reportedly flying a drone without a permit.

On Saturday, Iran's official IRIB news agency reported that an Iranian university student who had been arrested in Australia on charges of exporting American military radar equipment to Iran to help the country's defense program has returned to Iran after 13 months in detention.

Reza Dehbashi, a student at the University of Queensland, was facing extradition to the United States and was freed because of Iran's diplomatic efforts, according to IRIB.

Dehbashi was doing research on a machine used for detecting skin cancer and has denied all charges about the export of military equipment to Iran, IRIB reported.

Another British-Australian, University of Melbourne academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert is still imprisoned in Iran after being charged with spying last year.

Payne said her case was "very complex" as she had been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

"We are continuing our discussions with the Iranian government, we don't accept the charges upon which she was convicted and we will seek to have her returned to Australia," she said, declining to comment further.

News of the arrests last month came after Canberra announced it would contribute a frigate and surveillance aircraft to a US-led mission to protect shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, with tensions high in the Gulf region.

Payne has maintained the cases of those detained were not related to diplomatic tensions.

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