US

Lawyer for US resident held in Iran calls him a 'hostage'

A Washington-based lawyer for a U.S. permanent resident imprisoned in Iran has described him as a "hostage."

Jason Poblete said in a statement on Thursday that Iranian allegations that Nizar Zakka confessed to authorities are "completely false."

A semi-official Iranian news agency on Wednesday published remarks from a Revolutionary Guard commander saying Zakka confessed to trying to "encourage decadence" in Iranian society.

Poblete demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Zakka, a Lebanese computer expert whose organization previously did contract work for the U.S. government , and all other Westerners held by Iran.

Zakka was detained in September 2015 after speaking at a conference attended by President Hassan Rouhani at the Iranian government's invitation.

Zakka is serving a 10-year prison sentence and faces a $4.2 million fine after a closed-door trial.