WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran has freed a 71-year-old U.S. businessman who had been held in prison for 2 1/2 years on accusations of giving money to an alleged anti-government group, ABC News reported on Saturday.
“Sometimes I feel relief, sometimes, I feel angry,” Reza Taghavi told ABC after his release.
Taghavi was accused in May 2008 of giving $200 to a group called Tondar, or Thunder. He said he did so unwittingly and the Iranian authorities eventually agreed.
He shared a 16-bed cell with 33 inmates in the same prison as U.S. hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer. On Monday, the hikers will have been in jail for 444 days, matching the time the U.S. Embassy hostages were held in Iran from 1979 to 1981.
Iran’s intelligence minister said there were no plans to release the hikers, state media reported on Friday.
Taghavi, who is from Los Angeles, will return to the United States next week.
“I‘m going to start to forget what happened,” he told ABC. “I want to put everything behind me.”
A U.S. State Department spokesman did not have details about Taghavi’s release.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Peter Cooney