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Iran: Ready for Unconditional Prisoner Swap With U.S.


(TEHRAN, Iran) — Iran says it’s prepared for unconditional prisoner swap talks with the US due to fears that the coronavirus might put the lives of the prisoners in danger, Iranian media reported Sunday.

An Iranian information web site, Khabaronline.ir, quoted Cupboard spokesman Ali Rabiei as saying there’s a “readiness for all prisoners” to be mentioned with out situation.

“However the U.S. has refused to reply, to date,” mentioned Rabiei. “We hope that because the outbreak of the COVID-19 illness threatens the lives of Iranian residents within the U.S. prisons, the U.S. authorities finally will favor lives to politics.”

A senior U.S. official, who was not approved to debate the matter publicly and spoke on situation of anonymity, mentioned, “There was no provide and no provide of direct talks.”

Rabiei mentioned Iran considers the U.S. authorities chargeable for the well being of the Iranian prisoners, including that “it appears that evidently the U.S. has extra readiness to convey the state of affairs to an finish.” Rabiei didn’t elaborate, however Iranian media in latest months mentioned there are a number of Iranians in U.S. custody, together with Sirous Asgari, a 60-year-old college professor.

Final week, U.S. officers mentioned they have been making progress in efforts to safe the discharge of a detained Navy veteran in Iran. However they have been additionally pushing again on Iranian ideas {that a} swap was within the works for the imprisoned Iranian professor. U.S. officers have been making an attempt to deport Asgari since final yr.

Ken Cuccinelli, the appearing deputy Homeland Safety secretary, mentioned Wednesday that the circumstances of American detainee Michael White in Iran and Asgari have by no means been related. He expressed frustration with latest feedback from Iranian officers that there could also be a hyperlink between the 2 and complained that Iran had been gradual to just accept Asgari’s return.

White, of Imperial Seashore, California, was detained in July 2018 whereas visiting a girlfriend in Iran. He was convicted of insulting Iran’s supreme chief and posting personal data on-line.

He was launched from jail in March on a medical furlough that required him to stay within the nation. White is amongst tens of 1000’s of prisoners granted medical furloughs by Iran, which was one of many first international locations to be hit exhausting by the spreading coronavirus.

Trump administration officers have repeatedly mentioned they take into account the discharge of American hostages and detainees to be a excessive precedence.

Associated Tales

In December, Iran launched a Princeton College scholar held for 3 years on broadly disputed espionage fees in alternate for the discharge of a detained Iranian scientist.

In March, the household of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran 13 years in the past, mentioned they’d been knowledgeable by U.S. officers that they’d decided that Levinson was in all probability useless. Officers haven’t mentioned how they reached that conclusion.

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Related Press author Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Contact us at editors@time.com.



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