Iran frees Slovak paragliders held in spy row

PRAGUE Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:59am EST

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a news conference at the Slovak government building in Bratislava, October 29, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a news conference at the Slovak government building in Bratislava, October 29, 2013 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Radovan Stoklasa

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PRAGUE (Reuters) - Two Slovak paragliders detained in Iran over accusations of spying have returned home, a day after their prime minister held talks in Tehran, Slovakia's government said on Friday.

The pair were among eight Slovaks arrested in Iran in May on suspicion of taking photographs of restricted areas. Six were freed in September.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico met Iranian officials in Tehran on Thursday to discuss the case, and the two men returned to Slovakia early on Friday, the government said on its website.

"I am convinced that if the (Slovak) state had not got involved, if we had not pursued the maximum political, diplomatic but also intelligence efforts, then certainly they would not be free today," Fico said.

Slovak media had reported the group was detained near the central Iranian city of Isfahan, where there is a uranium conversion facility.

Iran has frequently leveled accusations of espionage against both foreign nationals and Iranians. But in recent months there has been a thaw in relations with the outside world, made possible by the election of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as president.

Iran reached a breakthrough deal last month with six world powers on curbing its nuclear program in return for a limited easing of international sanctions.

(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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Comments (3)
commenter456 wrote:
Those two guys were released from captivity allready before slovak prime minster arrived. They were allready on slovak ambassy in teheran. Iran released them allready, not because of the slovak prime minster.

The slovak prime minster flyed to teheran to play the theatre of a ‘argo style’ mission :) on arrival in Bratislava airport all the 3 main Televisions were waiting and recording the hero’s arrival.

The presidental elections are comming soon in Slovakia. The prime minster (Robert fico) will soon anounce his candidature.

Dec 14, 2013 7:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
commenter456 wrote:
Those two guys were released from captivity allready before slovak prime minster arrived. They were allready on slovak ambassy in teheran. Iran released them allready, not because of the slovak prime minster.

The slovak prime minster flyed to teheran to play the theatre of a ‘argo style’ mission :) on arrival in Bratislava airport all the 3 main Televisions were waiting and recording the hero’s arrival.

The presidental elections are comming soon in Slovakia. The prime minster (Robert fico) will soon anounce his candidature.

Dec 14, 2013 7:33am EST  --  Report as abuse
commenter456 wrote:
Those two guys were released from captivity allready before slovak prime minster arrived. They were allready on slovak ambassy in teheran. Iran released them allready, not because of the slovak prime minster.

The slovak prime minster flyed to teheran to play the theatre of a ‘argo style’ mission :) on arrival in Bratislava airport all the 3 main Televisions were waiting and recording the hero’s arrival.

The presidental elections are comming soon in Slovakia. The prime minster (Robert fico) will soon anounce his candidature.

Dec 14, 2013 7:33am EST  --  Report as abuse
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