In a statement, Moore-Gilbert described the past two years and three months as a “long and painful test”, thanking the Australian leadership and others who campaigned for his freedom.
Despite her injustice, she said her departure from Iran was “sweet and bitter”.
“I have nothing but respect, love and admiration for Iran’s great country and its heartfelt, generous and courageous people,” Moore-Gilbert said in a statement issued by the Australian government.
“I came to Iran as a friend and with a friendly intention. I left Iran with those sentiments.
The Iranian government-backed news agency Young Journalist Club (YJC) reported that she had been released as part of a prisoner exchange for three Iranian businessmen abroad who are accused of evading US sanctions on Iran. The agency did not disclose the identities of those released.
“I always believe in miracles and I’m thankful for this too. To see Kylie come home,” Morrison said.
“She is an extraordinarily intelligent, strong and courageous woman. She is an amazing Australian, she went through a fiery test we can imagine,” he said.
Morrison spoke with Moore-Gilbert on Thursday, and she appeared to be “in very good spirits.” But he acknowledged that it was a “tough transition” to return home and pledged “excellent support” from the Australian government.
“The Australian government has consistently denied the allegations that the Iranian government arrested, detained and convicted Dr. Moore-Gilbert. We continue to do so,” she said.
An academic prison
Moore-Gilbert holds dual British and Australian citizenship and is a fellow and lecturer in Islamic Studies focusing on politics in the Arab Gulf states, according to her biography on the University of Melbourne website.
She graduated from Cambridge University in 2013 and completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne four years later, the website said. She was in Iran in 2018 to start a course in the city of Kom when she was detained, according to the Australian State Broadcaster ABC.
In 2019, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossain said Esmaili Moore-Gilbert was “gooing for another country.” A source close to the matter told CNN that Moore-Gilbert had already been tried and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Last Christmas, Moore-Gilbert and Iranian-born French educator Dr Fariba Adelkha were imprisoned in Evin, where they began a hunger strike together in the name of “freedom of education”, according to a joint public letter they wrote to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“We will strike on behalf of all academics and researchers across Iran and the Middle East, who, like us, have been unjustly imprisoned on Trump charges and are doing their job as researchers,” the two women wrote. “We are not only asking for our immediate freedom, but for seeking justice for countless, thousands, unnamed and unforgettable men and women who have suffered a worse fate and are imprisoned in Iran.
CNN’s Jesse Young contributed to the story.