Iran says ready to swap prisoners with U.S. without precondition

May 10, 2020 - 17:52

TEHRAN - Government spokesman Ali Rabiei has said that Iran has announced it is ready to swap prisoners with the United States without any precondition, however Washington has not responded.

“We announced readiness to swap prisoners and hold talks in this respect without any precondition. However, it is the United States who has refrained from giving a response. We hope in the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic, which threatens lives of 19 Iranian inmates in the United States’ prisons, Washington would prioritize lives of the people,” Rabiei told the Khabaronline website in an interview published on Sunday.

He noted that the Iranian inmates in the U.S. prisons are not in good condition, saying, “It is worrisome for us.”

Rabiei also said that there is no need for an intermediary to exchange prisoners.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in December 2019 that Iran is ready for a full prisoner swap with the U.S., noting that the “ball is in the U.S.’s court”.

Sirous Asgari, an Iranian scientist imprisoned in the U.S. who has contracted the novel coronavirus, is held behind bars in the U.S. despite being exonerated in a sanctions trial.

Three Iranian officials told Reuters that a prisoner swap with the U.S. was in the works.

Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran who has been detained in Iran since 2018 and is currently on medical furlough, is a likely candidate for the prisoners swap, the report said.

NA/PA

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