The Iran Project

Iran says prisoner swap can happen without talks

Al-Monitor – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said May 11 that the United States has not yet responded to calls for a prisoner swap. The day before, Hassan Rouhani administration spokesman Ali Rabiei made headlines when he said, “We have announced that we are ready to exchange prisoners without any preconditions.” He added that Iran is open to talks on the matter.

The following day Rabiei was forced to clarify that he did not mean that Iran is ready to hold direct talks with the United States, saying, “What was presented about exchanging prisoners is the same recommendation spoken about two years ago by our foreign minister, Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, that we are ready to exchange all prisoners in the world, not just with America, and my comments were related to this.” Rabiei reiterated that he had said Iran was ready for a swap “without negotiations or a mediator.”

Zarif said Iran had called for a prisoner swap in October 2018, not just with the United States, but with other countries who have been holding Iranian prisoners on behalf of the United States. He added, “When we said this then the Americans never responded and they still have not responded.”

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