Iranian doctor returned in swap with Iran for U.S. Navy veteran

The doctor, Matteo Taerri, pleaded guilty last year in connection with attempting to export a device that U.S. authorities said could be used for chemical, biological warfare

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Matteo Taerri
Iranian doctor Matteo Taerri, left, at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport
(MAJID ASGARIPOUR/MEHR NEWS/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: June 8, 2020 - 7:58am

An Iranian doctor living in Florida has in recent days been allowed to return to his country in an apparent exchange with Tehran in which a U.S. Navy veteran was returned last week to America. 

The doctor, Matteo Taerri, pleaded guilty late last year in connection with attempting to export a filter to Iran that he said was for vaccine research. However, U.S. authorities said the filter required a license because it could be used for chemical and biological warfare, according to the Associated Press. Taerri was also accused of orchestrating a series of bank deposits less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements.

It is unclear when Taerri returned to Iran. The semi-official Fars news agency over the weekend published an image of Matteo Taerri at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport with Tehran officials. 

Tarerris was released from detention in April, after serving several months in detention. His release followed the Justice Department withdrawing its request to have him detained, citing foreign policy interests.

Last week, Michael White, the Navy veteran, was returned to the U.S. 

White, of California, was detained in July 2018 while visiting a girlfriend in Iran. He was convicted of insulting the country’s supreme leader and putting  private information online, the wire service also reports. White had been released from prison in March on a medical furlough and was awaiting his return. 

Earlier last week, Iranian scientist named Sirous Asgari returned to Tehran after being acquitted in a federal trade secrets case and deported. He was working on a U.S. Navy project at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. 

 

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