Middle East

Lawyer: Iran to free artist, activist soon

The lawyer for a prominent jailed Iranian artist and activist say authorities will soon free his client.

Mohammad Moghimi told The Associated Press Monday that an appeals court reduced Atena Farghadani's 12-year prison sentence to 18 months and "she will be freed soon."

Moghimi said the exact date for her release has not been set yet.

In June 2014, a court sentenced Farghadani, a cartoonist, over a cartoon that criticized a law limiting women's access to birth control.

On Sunday, Iran freed Nazak Afshar, an Iranian-French former employee of the France embassy in Tehran, after nearly two months in jail over her alleged role in 2009 post-election protests.

The moves are seen as efforts to soften Iran's image and improve relations with the West following the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement.