Nizar Zakka: I was released because of US, not Hezbollah
The Lebanese citizen Nizar Zakka who was incarcerated in Iran for four years denied Hezbollah’s role in his release and said he was freed because of a US deal.
Zakka, who is also an American citizen wrote in Asharq Al-Awsat that after his release the Islamic Republic officials delivered him to Hezbollah and President Michelle Aoun in order to save face and cover up the fact that they accepted a US deal.
Zakka wrote: “My release was due to American efforts - there were five American detainees in Iranian prisons. Iran released me under American pressure, and it put out the story of Hassan Nasrallah’s efforts and that I was released because I’m Lebanese just so that it doesn’t show that it kneeled to American pressure.”
Zakka was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 4 million and 200 thousand dollars in fines on the charge of espionage.
At the time of his release, the regime’s Fars News claimed: “This is done solely because of the respect and dignity the Islamic Republic has for Hassan Nasrallah.”
Zakka once again accused the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of psychological and physical torture. He also says that during his time in prison, he met the son of the late Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the vice-president of the late Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a number of Iraqi detainees, and Princeton graduate student Xiyue Wang, who were all in a small IRGC cell that held 24 people.
Zakka also praised the US maximum pressure policy on the Iranian regime, which he said knows well how to circumvent sanctions.