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Iran Releases Chief Agitator of 2016 Attack on the Saudi Diplomatic Missions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Flames rise from Saudi Arabia’s embassy during a demonstration in Tehran January 2, 2016. REUTERS

Washington- Iran authorities released Hassan Kerd Meehan, chief inciter who led the January 2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. The attack was a mob action by a crowd of protesters who stormed the embassy in the Tehran and another Saudi diplomatic consulate in Mashhad, ransacking offices

Local media said that the local ultra-conservative Meehan was freed on Oct.11. Iran-based news agency ‘Eslahatnews’ reported that he was released in order to participate at the Ashura “Day of Remembrance” activities held last week.

Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and holds sect-inspired commemoration rituals for Shi’ites.

Eslahatnews website revealed that Meehan was granted bail, however, the cleric-based criminal court still is working on the directed charges and will be announcing a verdict against the offender.

Deputy Chief Justice of Iran Mohseni-Eje’I announced at a press conference that the country’s justice system has knowingly decided to reduce the size of punishment served to those accused of partaking or staging the January attacks based on the Tehran-Riyadh animosity factor.

Eje’I made mention of the Saudi Arabia’s protest against Iran’s infiltration of the region. The cleric-based regime’s contempt with Saudi Arabia has also played a role in lifting some of the penal measures against the bailed agitators.

The attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions received international condemnation, which further marred Iran’s reputation.

Iran officials had previously said that the charges posed were on a national security threat level. Nevertheless the complaint was later downplayed to ‘deliberate vandalism of Saudi embassy’s assets and disruption of public order.’

More so, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had detained Siamak Namazi, a businessman in his mid-40s with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, in 2015 while he was visiting family in Tehran.

The IRGC in February, 2016 arrested his 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, a former Iranian provincial governor and former UNICEF official who also has dual citizenship.

Both men were sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying and cooperating with the U.S. government, said Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, according to the Fars news website, without specifying when exactly the sentences had been handed down.

The U.S. State Department’s deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, said the father and son had been “unjustly detained” in Iran, and called for their immediate release.