Tehran to Washington: Stop talking rubbish!

May 12, 2020 - 17:36

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has urged United States officials to “stop talking rubbish”, saying that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has put “universal prisoners swap” on the table since September 2018.

“Stop talking rubbish! Since Sep2018, @JZarif has put ‘universal prisoners swap’ on the table, urged the U.S. to act responsibly abt the Iranian HOSTAGES in U.S. & elsewhere. Your regime has reacted callously & risked their lives. World is watching your action, not your word. Let our citizens go!” he tweeted on Monday.

His tweet came as a response to Ken Cuccinelli, the U.S. acting deputy secretary, who accused Zarif of just talking and not taking real actions to take back Iranian scientist Sirous Asghari and others.

“@JZarif, after months of stalling @DHSgov as we have been trying to return Sirous Asgari, you suddenly woke up one day recently and say you actually want him back. You SAY you want all of your citizens back. I call B.S. 
How about you put your money where your mouth is?” Cuccinelli tweeted Monday.

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.

Zarif announced on Monday that Iranian scientist Sirous Asghari will return to Iran soon.

Asgari had tested positive for coronavirus in prison. He broke the story in an interview with the Guardian on April 28.

“Sirous Asgari has been acquitted of charges and if his coronavirus test proves negative, he will return to the country with the first flight,” Zarif told reporters after attending a parliamentary committee meeting.

All necessary measures have been taken for his return, Zarif added.

Asgari, a materials science, and engineering professor had visited the U.S. to see her daughters. However, he was arrested under the allegation of violating sanctions against Iran.

The professor, who has a history of respiratory problems, was exonerated in a U.S. sanctions trial last year, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) jail in Louisiana had refused to release him or allow him to return to Iran.


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