Iran releases American citizen accused of 'collaboration with a hostile government'

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REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Iranian authorities have released a San Diego resident from prison who was serving an 18-year sentence on charges of "collaboration with a hostile government."

Gholamrez "Reza" Shahini, a U.S. citizen who goes by "Robin," was released on bail of $62,000, the Associated Press reported Monday, citing an official from the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran. It is unclear whether he can leave the country.

Shahini, who traveled to Iran in July to visit family, was arrested by Iranian authorities from his mother's home on July 11, 2016. A friend of Shahini's said at the time that he may have been detained because of his online comments that criticized Iran’s human rights record.

"Robin has been known for his advocacy of human rights on social media. This advocacy, unfortunately, has not sat well with the Iranian government," the friend, Denera Ragoonanan, wrote in a Facebook post.

Shahini graduated from San Diego state in May. Ragoonanan said Shahini had hoped to pursue a PhD that would allow him to work with the Iranian government "to bring peace to the country."

Tehran has detained several dual nationals since the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in January 2016.

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