Persian Gulf together: Oman's Sultan lends a royal hand to rescue Iranian former diplomat
Nosratollah Tajik, the former Iranian ambassador to Jordan, arrived in Muscat on a flight from the UK late on Tuesday night following his successful six year long battle against extradition to the US, ahead of his expected arrival in Tehran in the early hours of Wednesday.
Arriving at around 9:30pm on a specially chartered plane from the Royal Air Force of Oman, Tajik spoke briefly to reporters gathered at Muscat International Airport's military terminal where he expressed his gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and Oman for helping secure his release. Accompanied by the Iranian Ambassador to Oman, Tajik told the gathered media that he would seek to sue the authorities responsible for his arrest and six-year detention.
“I am going to sue them because it has affected my health. I am suing the US government for their sting operation against me (related to an illegal arms procurement investigation), which was illegal. It was illegal filming and recording, so it was not a good act, it was an illegal act,” he said.
Tajik had been residing in the UK after being appointed as an honorary fellow of Durham University in 2004. He also completed his PhD in 2009, while under house arrest.
“I am not going to seek revenge, I just want to bring to public attention the act against a student who is studying legally but they (the US) are doing sting operations with FBI agents which is illegal. So, they should be responsible about the action. Six years' house arrest destroyed my life, my family life. It is nonsense, destroying an individual.”
Tajik added that the arrest was 'a political game' and that 'they wanted something that did not happen', and called on governments to avoid putting private citizens at risk.“Governments should talk to each other in a better manner, rather than putting individuals in politically motivated cases,” he said.
Tajik was arrested in October 2006 by British authorities at the request of the US government following an elaborate 'sting' operation for his alleged role in attempting to procure sensitive military equipment, including night vision goggles and scopes, that would be then sent onwards to Iran, according to a 2010 report issued by the Institute for Science and International Security.
The equipment is among items included in the US Munitions List that cannot be sold without a licence.
A prolonged battle against the charges was finally decided by the British High Court on December 13 when it ruled against his extradition to the US and ordered his release from detention.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oman said that based on the directives of His Majesty the Sultan, the government had worked to bring the detained diplomat since 2006. It also thanked the governments of both the UK and US in cooperating with the process in returning Tajik back to Iran on 'humanitarian considerations'.
H E Ali Akbar Seba’wyeh, the Iranian Ambassador to Oman, also thanked His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and Oman for helping secure the release of Nosratollah Tajik.