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Tehran ready to swap all prisoners with US: Iran FM

Zarif says Iran is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the US [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 September, 2020

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Tehran is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the US, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday.
Iran is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the US, the country's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on Monday at a virtual address to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

The comments come after relations between the two countries deteriorated in 2018 when US President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Among the issues of contention is the holding of American prisoners in Iran, and the Iranians jailed in the US, which Zarif offered to fix.

"There are Iranians in US prisons who are there only because they refuse to betray their country (Iran). We are prepared to exchange all of them and all those who have been kept in jail," Zarif said.

"I repeat, we can exchange all prisoners. Period."

The US has long called for the release of US citizens held in Iran, including Iranian-American father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi.

Iran refuses to accept that it is holding them as political prisoners and accused most of imprisoned foreigners of spying, despite strong denials from their families.

Tehran says Washington has detained Iranians unjustly, mostly for breaking sanctions.

Zarif's announcement came as US moved to impose sanctions on 27 individuals and entities, including Iran's defence ministry, its Atomic Energy Organisation and Venezuela's leftist leader Nicolas Maduro.


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