Ready for prisoner swap talks with US, says Iran


Iran says it is ready for unconditional prisoner swap talks with the US because of fears that the coronavirus could put the lives of the prisoners at risk, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

An Iranian website quoted Cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei as saying there was a “readiness for all prisoners” to be discussed without condition. “But the US has refused to answer, so far” said Rabiei.

“We hope that as the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease threatens the lives of Iranian citizens in the US prisons, the US government will prefer lives to politics.” Rabiei said Iran considers the US government responsible for the health of the Iranian prisoners. Iranian media in recent months said there were several Iranians in US custody, including Sirous Asgari, a 60-year-old university professor.

Last week, US officials said they were making progress in efforts to secure the release of a detained Navy veteran in Iran. But they were also pushing back on Iranian suggestions that a swap was in the works for the imprisoned Iranian American officials have been trying to deport since last year. Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy Homeland Security secretary, said on Wednesday that the cases of American detainee Michael White in Iran and Asgari, the Iranian imprisoned in the US, have never been connected. He expressed frustration with comments from Iranian officials that there may be a link between the two and complained that Iran was slow to accept Asgari’s return.


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