Iran releases imprisoned Australian bloggers

Kylie Moore-Gilbert and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe remain in Tehran's Evin prison.

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison June 13, 2006.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison June 13, 2006.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jolie King and Mark Firkin, who were arrested several months ago, have been released from Iran’s notorious Evin prison.
Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, announced their release saying, “It is with some enormous relief that I announce that they have been released and returned,” The Guardian reported.
“The government has worked very hard through diplomatic channels during that time to secure their release, as well as to ensure they were treated appropriately while they were detained. We have done that discreetly, and I would note that each case of an Australian unfortunately detained overseas is different and requires a specific and particular response,” Payne told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Payne said that Iran dropped the charges against the couple, adding that they were in “good health and in good spirits,” ABC reported.
The UK government also demanded the couple’s release and got involved in the case because King holds British and Australian citizenship.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab contacted the Iranian ambassador. The UK Foreign Office said that Raab, "raised serious concerns about the number of dual-national citizens detained by Iran and their conditions of detention,” according to the ABC.
King and Firkin began their travels in 2017 and documented the journey on a blog called The Way Overland.
They were arrested for allegedly flying a drone near a military site in Jajrood, near Tehran, according to The Guardian. The drone was reportedly meant to be used for taking photos for the blog.
Drone use is allowed in Iran, but under strict conditions, according to The Guardian.
The couple were not the only British and Australian citizens being held captive in Evin.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British-Australian University of Melbourne academic, is still in prison, Payne confirmed to The Guardian.
Payne added that “very long-term negotiations” are taking place to ensure Moore-Gilbert’s release.
The Australian government advises citizens against traveling in Iran, labeling the country as a whole under its “reconsider your need to travel” category, The Guardian reported. However, parts of Iran are under Australia’s highest warning category, “do not travel.”
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian, has been held in Evin since 2016 on spying charges. In July, Reuters reported that she was moved to a psychiatric ward, but was later moved back to prison.