TEHRAN: Lebanese businessman Nizar Zakka left Iran, where he was detained since 2015, and flew to Beirut with Lebanon’s security chief on Tuesday, a Lebanese official told Reuters.

Lebanon’s head of general security Abbas Ibrahim told Reuters on Monday that the detainee, who has US residency, would be freed by Iran and that the two would return to Lebanon.

Iran’s judiciary has earlier approved the conditional release of Zakka, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2016 on charges of spying for Washington, its news agency reported Tuesday.

“The relevant court has agreed to Nizar Zakka’s conditional release and he will be handed over to Lebanese authorities,” Mizan Online quoted judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili as saying.

“According to the law, those who are sentenced to up to 10 years in jail, if they have served at least one third of their sentence and shown good behavior” can be released conditionally.

According to Esmaili, Lebanese President Michel Aoun requested Zakka’s release “in writing” and Iran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah said it would be “expedient.”

“This is an absolutely judicial procedure and no political issue has been involved,” Esmaili was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying.

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