‘Iran reiterates it is ready to swap prisoners with U.S.’

June 7, 2020 - 19:4

TEHRAN - Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has said that Iran is ready to swap prisoners with the United States.

“If it is possible to swap prisoners, we are ready to set free the people in the United States’ jails and bring them back to the country,” he told IRNA in an interview published on Sunday.

He also praised Switzerland’s efforts in a recent prisoners swap, noting that there were no direct talks between Tehran and Washington. 

Tehran announced on Thursday a prisoner swap between Iran and the United States.

“Pleased that Dr. Majid Taheri and Mr. White [U.S. Navy veteran Michael White] will soon be joining their families,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Thursday. “Prof. Sirous Asgari was happily reunited with his family on Weds.”

“This can happen for all prisoners,” Zarif said, adding, “No need for cherry-picking. Iranian hostages held in—and on behalf of—the US should come home.”

Mousavi said in a statement on Thursday that White, who had been in jail in Iran, was released after being granted Islamic mercy for his crimes.

White was released from jail given the time served and in respect of human rights considerations, and left Iran on Thursday, Mousavi said.

Zarif said in December that Tehran was ready for a full prisoner exchange with the United States, tweeting: “The ball is in the US’ court”.

Switzerland which takes care of the U.S. interests in Iran has played a role in the recent prisoner exchange. It has announced that it is ready to act as a facilitator for more prisoner swaps.

‘U.S. can return to JCPOA if it repents’

Mousavi also said that the U.S. can return to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, if it repents, makes up for the harms it has inflicted on the Iranians and remove all the cruel sanctions.

He noted that Iran never left the negotiating table.

Mousavi’s comments came as response to a Trump’s tweet in which he thanked Iran for releasing White, proposing talks.

“So great to have Michael home. Just arrived. Very exciting. Thank you to Iran. Don’t wait until after U.S. Election to make the Big deal,” Trump said in his tweet on Friday.