Despite tensions between Washington and Tehran, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif has said that he is ready to exchange prisoners with the United States. He made the remark in a virtual conversation with the New York-based think tank Council on Foreign Relations on Monday (21 September). This is according to a report by the British news agency Reuters.
Tensions between the two countries began in 2016 when the US pulled out of a nuclear deal signed with six world powers over Iran and resumed sanctions on Tehran. Despite this, the two countries have already exchanged prisoners twice. Washington has recently insisted on resuming UN sanctions on Iran. Even then, the Iranian foreign minister said he was ready to exchange prisoners.
Washington has long demanded the release of detained US citizens in Iran. The detainees include an Iranian-American father, Bakr, and his son, Siamak Namji. America claims that they are all political prisoners.
However, Tehran has denied detaining anyone for political reasons. The country has been accusing many foreigners in jails of spying on Iran. Tehran claims that the US has improperly detained many Iranians. Although Washington claims that most of them have been detained for violating sanctions on Iran.
Amid a flurry of accusations, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javed Zarif said on Monday that “many Iranians are in US jails for refusing to cheat their country. We exchange for all and all prisoners in prison Ready. I again say that we can exchange all prisoners. From time to time. ‘
Earlier, former US White Officer Michael White, who had been detained in Iran since 2016, returned to the country in June this year. In return, Iranian-American doctor Majid Taheri was given permission to return to Tehran. Also, in December 2016, Washington and Tehran exchanged another round of prisoners. At the time, Iran released Zhou Wan, an American citizen who was detained for three years on charges of espionage. In return, Washington released Masood Solamani, an Iranian citizen detained on charges of violating US sanctions.