Germany frees Iranian ‘bargaining chips


Germany released two jailed Iranian agents whom Israel had wanted swapped for missing airman Ron Arad.

German authorities announced this week they had granted an early release to Kazem Darabi and Abbas Rhayel, who had been serving life sentences for the 1992 assassination of four Iranian opposition leaders in Berlin. Both men were deported.

The releases came over protests lodged by representatives of Arad, an Israeli Air Force navigator who is believed to have disappeared into Iranian captivity after bailing out over Lebanon in 1986. Germany has long tried to help Israel obtain word on Arad’s fate, but did not agree to keeping the two detainees as “bargaining chips” for his return.

“It is very disappointing, as our best chips are being given away,” Eliad Shraga, a lawyer for the Arad family, told Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday.



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