Lebanese IT expert Nizar Zakka is to be released on Tuesday from Iran and will return to Beirut, Chief of Lebanese General Security Abbas Ibrahim said on Monday, adding that his release is not part of a bigger prisoner-exchange deal.
The decision was taken only “upon the request and mediation of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah”, Fars News Agency reported citing an informed source.
According to Fars News Agency, no negotiations were held at the state or individual level, except with Nasrallah.
“This is done solely because of the respect and dignity the Islamic Republic has for Hassan Nasrallah,” the Fars News Agency report said citing the source, adding that Zakka was “an American spy who was arrested by the IRGC in 2015.”
Zakka was detained in Iran in 2015 for “collaborating against the state.”
Lebanon state news agency NNA last week quoted the foreign ministry as saying that Iran had agreed amnesty for Nizar Zakka, an information technology expert who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 and fined $4.2 million.
NNA also quoted media representatives on behalf of Zakka’s family as saying the initiative to release him had been successful, and thanking President Michel Aoun and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
Zakka, who also has permanent US residency, had been invited to Iran by a government official in 2015 but then disappeared after attending a conference in Tehran.
State media announced later that year that he had ties to US military and intelligence services and had been detained by the Revolutionary Guards.