Iran frees 80 prisoners ahead of Rowhani's U.N. visit

Prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and at least 10 other prisoners were released last week. (File photo: AFP)

Iran said on Monday it had freed 80 prisoners arrested in political crackdowns ahead of President Hassan Rowhani’s visit to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York this week.

As part of Rowhani’s apparent new moderate political approach and outreach to the West, authorities released prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and at least 10 other prisoners last week.

Judiciary spokesman Mohseni Ejei told a news conference on Monday, 80 prisoners had been pardoned, including some arrested over protests that followed the disputed re-election of former hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, Reuters news agency reported.

The release of the prisoners last week also came after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that flexibility is needed in Iran’s international relations.

(With Reuters)

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