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WORLD : Iran Frees Briton Jailed Over Arms

Associated Press

A Briton imprisoned in Iran for more than two years on weapons charges returned home today after being released from a Tehran prison.

Nicholas Nicola, 23, was met by his father and by Foreign Office officials at London’s Heathrow Airport following his arrival on an Iran Air flight and whisked off to an undisclosed location.

Britain said Nicola, a tourist traveling by land from Pakistan when arrested, had been held without trial since September, 1986. But the official Islamic Republic News Agency said he had been officially charged, tried and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for “the possession of two weapons and a number of cartridges.” It said Nicola was freed early for good behavior.

A Foreign Office spokesman called the release “an important step forward.” Britain and Iran agreed Dec. 9 to restore diplomatic ties.

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