News ID: 262714
Published: 0223 GMT December 09, 2019

Iran says ready for ‘comprehensive’ prisoner swap with US

Iran says ready for ‘comprehensive’ prisoner swap with US

National Desk

Iranian government officials have expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness for comprehensive prisoner exchange with the Unites States after each freed a prisoner on Saturday.

“After getting our hostage back this week, fully ready for comprehensive prisoner exchange”, the Iranian foreign minister tweeted on Monday.

However, he noted that the ball was now in the US court.

Zarif’s remarks came two days after Iran and the US exchanged prisoners as part of a swap.

Iran released Xiyue Wang, an American citizen who had been sentenced to 10 years in jail in Iran on spying charges, while the United States freed Iranian stem cell scientist Massoud Soleimani. He had been facing charges of violating US sanctions against Tehran.

Iran’s government spokesman Ali Rabiei also said Monday that Tehran was open to more prisoner swaps with Washington, while stressing that the weekend exchange was not the result of formal negotiations with the US.

US President Donald Trump thanked Iran for what he called a "very fair negotiation".

But Iranian government dismissed the idea that it was the result of any negotiations between the two countries, which have not had diplomatic ties since 1980, according to AFP.

"This was only an exchange and... regarding exchanges we are ready to act but there are no negotiations," spokesman Ali Rabiei said on state television.

"Negotiations or any kind of talks" can only take place "within the framework of the 5+1 and after America has refrained from sanctions and economic terrorism," he said.

The P5+1 is the group of countries that agreed on a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015 – the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

The nuclear deal has been hanging by a thread since last year, when Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord and began reimposing sanctions on the Islamic republic.

The Iranian spokesman said the prisoner swap came despite a US rejection of an offer Tehran made to Washington last year for an exchange of all detainees.

A few months ago, he said, Iran had received a message from "a former US official" saying the Americans were ready to make an exchange.




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