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Iran swaps jailed British-Australian academic with Iranians held abroad

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne [Twitter]

Iran has exchanged a jailed British-Australian academic, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, with three Iranians who had been detained abroad, Iran's state broadcaster IRIB reported on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Moore-Gilbert, a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne, was detained in Iran in September, 2018 and had been serving a 10-year sentence for espionage.

A website affiliated to state TV had earlier said that an Iranian businessman and two Iranian citizens who had been held abroad "on baseless charges" had been exchanged for Moore-Gilbert.

The Young Journalist Club news website YJC gave no further details about the three Iranians, but said they were detained for trying to circumvent U.N. sanctions, reimposed on Iran in 2018 when Washington exited Iran's nuclear deal with six powers.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals in recent years, mostly on espionage charges.

Rights activists have accused Iran of arresting dual nationals to try to win concessions from other countries. Tehran denies it holds people for political reasons and has accused many of the foreigners in its jails of espionage.

There was no immediate comment from Britain's Foreign Office.

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