Prisoner swap is not start of “any new path”, Iran tells U.S.

December 14, 2019 - 20:3

TEHRAN – Keyvan Khosravi, the spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said on Saturday that prisoner swap between Iran and the United States is not start of “any new path”.

His comments came as Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, said on Wednesday that recent prisoner exchange will lead to a broader discussion on consular affairs between the U.S. and Iran.

Khosravi said, “Prisoner swap was done without holding any negotiation and based on Iran’s humanitarian approach. It is not start of any new path and is an end to difficult situation of innocent people who have been incarcerated by the United States’ international banditry.”

Iran and the U.S. exchanged prisoners on December 7. An Iranian scientist was released by the U.S. and Iran released an American detained for three years on spying charges.

The prisoner exchange happened through mediation efforts by Switzerland.

Masoud Soleimani, a 49-year-old stem cell scientist, left Iran on sabbatical last year, but was arrested upon arrival in Chicago and transferred to prison in Atlanta, Georgia for unspecified reasons.

After he was released, Soleimani flew along with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif from Zurich to Tehran on December 7.

Xiyue Wang was also flown in a Swiss government airplane from Tehran to Zurich, where he was met by Hook, according to two senior United States officials.

After the prisoner exchange, Donald Trump wrote, “See, we can make a deal together!”

However, Iran has rejected any talks with the United States. Iran has said it will talk with the U.S. within the 5+1 format only if Washington returns to the 2015 nuclear deal and removes all sanctions on the Islamic Republic.


NA/PA

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