Ali Vakili Rad had served 16 years for stabbing and strangling to death the deposed Shah’s last prime minister, Shapour Bakhtiar, at the victim’s home outside Paris in 1991.
After the French interior minister signed an order to deport Vakili Rad, a court granted him parole on Tuesday and, a few hours later, he boarded an Iran Air flight from Paris’ Orly airport to Tehran.
He was greeted upon his arrival by senior officials.
“Ali Vakili Rad arrived in Tehran and was welcomed by Hassan Ghashghavi, (a diplomat in charge of expatriate Iranian affairs) and Kazem Jalali (a top MP),” the Fars news agency reported.
Vakili Rad was released just days after Iran sent French academic and alleged spy Clotilde Reiss home, triggering claims from opposition politicians that Paris had agreed to a quid pro quo with Tehran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year linked Reiss’s chances of release to the fate of Iranians held in French jails, but France has firmly denied that a swap had been agreed.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner insisted that there had been no “pay-off” and no “horse-trading” between Paris and Tehran ahead of Reiss’ return home on Sunday at the end of a 10-month ordeal.
Vakili Rad was convicted in 1994 of murdering 76-year-old Bakhtiar at his home on August 6, 1991. He became eligible for parole last year.
The last prime minister under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Bakhtiar fled to… >>>