“The announcement, after nearly a year of requests by top Lebanese officials for Mr. Zakka’s freedom, was billed in Iran and Lebanon as a gesture of good will from one nation to the other. It came at a time of crackling tension between the United States and Iran. Though leaders of both countries have said they do not want war, aggressive rhetoric on both sides, escalating American economic and military pressure, and mysterious attacks on oil installations of American allies in the Persian Gulf have raised fears of an armed clash.
Mr. Zakka’s American lawyer, Jason Poblete, described his release as “excellent news” and said in an emailed statement that his client “looks forward to reuniting with family and friends.” Mr. Poblete also suggested in the statement that Mr. Zakka had come to know some of the Americans and other foreigners who have been imprisoned in Iran.“Nizar grew close to some of these men,” Mr. Poblete said. “They need help and want to come home.”
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