Thailand has freed three Iranian men jailed for a bomb plot in 2012 after Iran released British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert.
Iranian media allege that the releases are part of an exchange agreement for the lecturer, who was arrested on espionage charges.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert denies being a spy and said leaving Iran after two years had been bittersweet.
Australia has been silent on the circumstances surrounding the agreement.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Moore-Gilbert’s release as a miracle and said she seemed in good spirits when he spoke to her.
“The injustice of her detention and her conviction, Australia has always rejected, and I’m just so pleased that Kylie’s coming home,” he said.
Mr. Morrison declined to comment on whether a prisoner exchange had taken place. However, he said that no one had been released in Australia.
Some observers say it could encourage Iran, accused of “hostage diplomacy.”
Thai officials said two Iranians were deported while a third was pardoned in August. According to reports, the botched bombing in Bangkok was aimed at Israel.
The country’s authorities assured that the three Iranians were not exchanged with anyone.
According to the kingdom’s Corrections Department, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh and Saeid Moradi were transferred back to Iran on Wednesday under a mutual treaty on prisoners. It also spoke about the release of Mohammad Khazaei, saying the man received a royal pardon in August and was released in September.
The three men had been jailed for a plot that was allegedly aimed at Israeli diplomats. This information came to light after an accident in which bombs were detonated in a house in Bangkok’s suburbs on February 14, 2012.
Moradi was then sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder after throwing a bomb at police while trying to escape. He lost his legs in one of the explosions.
Sedaghatzadeh fled to Malaysia and was later extradited to Thailand. Khazaei, in turn, was detained at the airport and imprisoned for 15 years.
The Young Journalists Club, a website affiliated with Iran’s state television, was in charge of spreading the swap news on Wednesday through a statement.
“An Iranian businessman and two Iranian citizens who were detained abroad on baseless charges were exchanged for a dual national spy named Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who worked for the Zionist regime,” it said.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert traveled on an Australian passport when she was detained at Tehran airport in 2018 while trying to leave after a conference.
The Cambridge-educated scholar said: “I am not a spy. I have never been a spy, and I have no interest to work for a spying organization in any country”.
She also alleged that she had rejected an offer from Iran to become a spy.