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World Iran ready to swap prisoners with U.S. without preconditions: Khabaronline

09:50  10 may  2020
09:50  10 may  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the United States, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei was quoted as saying by Khabaronline news website on Sunday, adding that Washington has yet to respond to Iran ' s call on a prisoner swap .

Xiyue Wang, a Princeton doctoral student, in 2015. He traveled to Iran a year later to study Farsi and conduct archival research for his dissertation.Credit Hua Qu, via Associated Press.

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the United States, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei was quoted as saying by Khabaronline news website on Sunday, adding that Washington has yet to respond to Iran's call on a prisoner swap.

a close up of a flag: An Iranian national flag flutters during the opening ceremony of the 16th International Oil, Gas & Petrochemical Exhibition (IOGPE) in Tehran © Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl An Iranian national flag flutters during the opening ceremony of the 16th International Oil, Gas & Petrochemical Exhibition (IOGPE) in Tehran

"We are ready to exchange Iranian and American prisoners and we are prepared to discuss this issue but Americans have not responded yet," Rabiei said, according to Khabaronline.

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The secretary of State said he was traveling to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to make sure that the U . S . is "strategically aligned" with its allies. The Trump administration said over the weekend that the United States is prepared to negotiate with Iran without preconditions , days after the two

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"We are worried about the safety and health of Iranians in jail ... We hold America responsible for Iranians' safety amid the new coronavirus outbreak," Khabaronline quoted Rabiei as saying.

In a rare act of cooperation between two longtime foes, the United States and Iran swapped prisoners in 2019 - American graduate student Xiyue Wang, detained for three years on spying charges, and imprisoned Iranian stem-cell researcher Massoud Soleimani, accused of sanction violations.

Tehran and Washington have grown more hostile towards each other since 2018 when President Donald Trump exited Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran that has crippled its economy.

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Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran in 2015. They brought the prisoner exchange deal back from the brink over 14 months of negotiations.Credit Pool photo by Susan Walsh.

Iran ’ s foreign minister offered publicly on Wednesday to negotiate a prisoner exchange with the United States, saying he had I am ready to do it and I have the authority to do it.” If there were a prisoner exchange, it would be the first since the January 2016 implementation of an agreement between Iran

"There is no need for a third country to mediate between Iran and America for the prisoner exchange," Rabiei said, according to Khabaronline.

Three Iranian officials told Reuters last week that a prisoner swap between the two countries is in the works. Michael White, a U.S. navy veteran who has been detained in Iran since 2018, is a likely candidate to be swapped. He was released from prison in mid-March on medical furlough but remains in Iran.

The United States is set to deport Iranian professor Sirous Asgari, who was acquitted of stealing trade secrets, once he receives medical clearance to leave, U.S. and Iranian officials said on Tuesday.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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