Iran again calls on US to release 19 detained Iranians

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has again raised the issue of 19 Iranians held in the U.S., calling for them to be released amid the trial of a detained Washington Post reporter.

Marzieh Afkham did not specifically mention journalist Jason Rezaian by name in her comments Wednesday at a news conference. However, it comes as speculation is rising that Iran could seek to swap Rezaian or other Americans for the Iranians.

Rezaian awaits a verdict in his closed-door espionage trial in a case widely criticized by the U.S., press freedom organizations and the Post. He reportedly faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Two other Americans are held by Iran, while another went missing in 2007 while working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence mission.