News ID: 268934
Published: 0316 GMT May 11, 2020

Zarif: Iran-US prisoner swap requires no negotiations

Zarif: Iran-US prisoner swap requires no negotiations

Any possible prisoner swap with the United States would not require holding talks between Tehran and Washington, an Iranian lawmaker quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying.

The exchange of prisoners between Iran and the US could be carried out without a problem and will not require any direct negotiations between the two countries, Zarif told a session of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee on Monday, according to IRNA. 

He said that any exchange of prisoners would be implemented in coordination with the Interest Section of the United States in Iran, the Iranian lawmaker added.

Zarif’s remarks came after government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Sunday that Iran is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the US "with no preconditions" but that Washington was yet to respond.

"It now appears that Americans are more ready than before to end this situation," he said, implying that Iran was waiting for a reply.

“Washington is aware of our readiness and we think there is no need for a third country to mediate between Tehran and Washington for the prisoner exchange,” Rabiei said.

“However, if the American side agrees, the Interest Section of Iran in Washington will inform the US of our views on the details, including how and when the exchange will take place.”

Tehran and Washington cut diplomatic relations shortly after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Switzerland looks after US interests with Tehran.

Rabiei also expressed concern about the health of some Iranian prisoners detained in the United States and said they are not being treated well.

“We are worried about the safety and health of jailed Iranians in America ... We hold America responsible for their safety amid the coronavirus outbreak,” he said.

One of them is Sirous Asgari, an Iranian scientist infected with the novel coronavirus while in detention, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Zarif said on Monday that Asgari will return to the country in the near future.

He said that Asgari has been acquitted of the charges against him and if his coronavirus test becomes negative, he can return to the country.


AFP and Reuters contributed to this story.




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