Iran ready for prisoner swap talks with US, citing Covid-19 threat as impetus
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Iran says it is ready for unconditional prisoner swap talks with the United States because of fears that the coronavirus could put the lives of the prisoners at risk, Iranian media reported Sunday.
An Iranian news website, Khabaronline.ir, quoted Cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei as saying there is a “readiness for all prisoners” to be discussed without condition.
“But the U.S. 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 U.S. prisons, the U.S. government eventually will prefer lives to politics.”
Rabiei did not elaborate but Iranian media in recent months said there are several Iranians in U.S. custody, including Sirous Asgari, a 60-year-old university professor.
Last week, U.S. 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 Wednesday that the cases of American detainee Michael White in Iran and Asgari, the Iranian imprisoned in the United States, have never been connected. He expressed frustration with recent comments from Iranian officials that there may be a link between the two and complained that Iran had been slow to accept Asgaris return.
Medical furloughs for prisoners in Iran
White, of Imperial Beach, California, was detained in July 2018 while visiting a girlfriend in Iran. He was convicted of insulting Irans supreme leader and posting private information online.
He was releRead More – Source