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Iranian Killer Of Former Prime Minister Arrives Home From France

Iranian agent Ali Vakili Rad (center) in a police vehicle lleaving Poissy prison, in a Paris suburb, on May 18.
An Iranian man convicted in France of killing an exiled former Iranian prime minister soon after that country's Islamic revolution has arrived in Tehran following his release by French authorities.

Ali Vakili Rad arrived in the Iranian capital late on May 18, just hours after a French court ordered his release from prison.

He had been serving a life sentence for killing Shapour Bakhtiar, Iran's last prime minister under Shah Pahlavi, outside his home in Paris in 1991.

"I am very happy to have returned to my country," Reuters quoted Vakili Rad as saying. "I am so very excited and happy that I cannot say more. I just tell you I passed through hell, and now I am in paradise."

Bakhtiar had fled to France after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Vakili Rad was released just two days after Iran freed a French teaching assistant who had been held on charges of spying in Tehran amid the unrest that followed last June's disputed presidential election.

Both France and Iran deny the moves are connected, but French opposition politicians and Iranian rights activists have accused Paris of striking a deal with Tehran.

compiled from agency reports