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US resident held as spy to be released

US resident held as spy to be released

A State Department spokesman said on the condition of anonymity that the matter is between Lebanon and Iran.

A photograph distributed on Lebanese media showed Zakka and Ibrahim sitting together and smiling, with Iranian and Lebanese flags displayed on a table next to them.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard detained Zakka in 2015 after he attended a conference in Tehran on the invitation of one of the country's vice presidents.

On Twitter, the force said that Maj Gen Ibrahim had completed his meetings and he would return with Mr Zakka tomorrow.

Lebanon's internal security head, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, travelled to Tehran on Sunday to oversee Nizar Zakka's release on behalf of President Michel Aoun.

At the time of his arrest, state television in Iran charged Zakka had "deep ties to military and intelligence services of the United States", Iran's arch-foe.

"The release of Nizar Zakka will take place on Tuesday after the completion of the judicial proceedings, which are almost done", Ibrahim said.

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However, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency, citing an unnamed source, said Zakka would be handed to Hizbollah, a Lebanese Shiite group founded in 1982 by Iran's elite revolutionary guards corps.

Iran will hand over Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizen and holder of USA residency who was detained in 2015, to Lebanon's Hezbollah, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Monday, citing an unnamed source. The US State Department had in 2016 called for his release, saying he was unjustly held.

At the end of 2017, Iranian courts confirmed his 10-year sentence on appeal, as well as that of an American and two Iranian-Americans accused of "collaboration" with the United States.

Lebanon's Foreign Ministry had on Tuesday announced that Tehran had asked Lebanese authorities to send a delegation to Tehran for Zakka's repatriation.

Shahindokht Molaverdi, an adviser to Iranian 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.

Iran says a number of its nationals are being held unjustly in the West, including at least 56 in the United States, and has asked for their immediate release.