Iranian assassin welcomed by officials on arrival in Tehran

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

An Iranian freed by France after 16 years in jail for the assassination of the exiled last prime minister of the shah was welcomed in Tehran on Tuesday by senior officials, Fars news agency reported.

"Ali Vakili Rad arrived in Tehran and was welcomed by Hassan Ghashghavi, (a diplomat in charge of expatriate Iranian affairs) and Kazem Jalali (a top MP)," Fars reported

Vakili Rad walked free from a French prison and flew home amid controversy over whether his release was tied to that of a French academic freed by Tehran three days earlier.

He was jailed for stabbing and strangling to death Shapour Bakhtiar at the victim's home outside Paris in 1991.

After the French interior minister signed an order to deport Vakili Rad, a court granted him parole on Tuesday and, a few hours later, he boarded an Iran Air flight from Paris's Orly airport to Tehran.

Vakili Rad was released just days after Iran sent French academic and alleged spy Clotilde Reiss flew home, triggering claims from opposition politicians that Paris had agreed to a swap with Tehran.

© 2010 AFP

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