Iran frees jailed Dutchman

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A Dutch-Iranian man jailed in Iran for a year for "spreading the Christian faith" has been freed and is back in the Netherlands, the country's foreign ministry said Friday.

Vahik Abramian, who has dual nationality, was released on Thursday, spokesman Christoph Prommersberger said.

"He was freed yesterday and he returned to Dutch soil today," he said.

Abramian had been denied consular assistance from the Netherlands as Iran does not recognise dual nationality.

Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal welcomed the news in a statement, saying the move was a "sign in the right direction from the Iranian authorities."

The Netherlands froze contact with Iran in January after the execution of another Dutch-Iranian, Sahra Bahrami, who was accused by Tehran of drug trafficking.

Bahrami was arrested in December 2009 as she took part in a demonstration against the contested reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

She was sentenced to death for drugs possession, condemned by The Hague as "an act committed by a barbaric regime."

Three Dutch nationals remain in prison in Iran, according to the foreign ministry.

© 2011 AFP

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