Iranian Scientist Freed by US Returns Home
Iranian media report that scientist Sirous Asgari has arrived back in the country after being deported by the United States. A 59-year old professor of materials science at Iran’s Sharif University, Asgari was indicted in 2016 for allegedly stealing sensitive technology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, which had been conducting research on ways to produce non-corrosive stainless steel for the US Navy. A federal judge in Ohio threw out the case last November. According to a senior Homeland Security official, Asgari’s deportation was delayed when Iran questioned his citizenship after being asked to issue him with a new passport, and then due to flight cancellations over the coronavirus pandemic. In April, while being held at a federal facility in Louisiana, Asgari himself became infected. Initially, Tehran hinted that the professor’s coming release might be part of a deal that would gain freedom for Americans held in Iran, but both countries are now denying this.