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Talks Under Way on Swap of Iranian, American Inmates: Spokesman

The spokesperson for Iran’s administration said negotiations are under way on the exchange of all Iranian and American prisoners.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Ali Rabiee reacted to the recent comments from US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley about progress in the talks on the release of American prisoners in Iran.

“We have already announced repeatedly that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready, on humanitarian grounds, for the swap of all political prisoners in exchange for the release of all Iranian prisoners across the world jailed on orders and at the request of the US,” the spokesman said.

He added that Iran expressed readiness for a prisoner swap even during the tenure of the previous US administration, but Washington refused to discuss the issue by insisting on holding the Iranians hostage.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had proposed the idea of exchange of all Iranian and American inmates long ago, the spokesman said, noting that the administration of US President Joe Biden has considered the issue after taking office.

“The negotiations in this regard are under way,” Rabiee stated, adding that results of the talks will be made public if the Iranian prisoners are liberated and the country’s interests are fulfilled.

In February, the spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry dismissed a claim by a US official that Tehran and Washington have begun direct talks over American prisoners in Iran and vice versa, saying that there have been no direct talks between the two countries on any matter.

Saeed Khatibzadeh said there were a number of Iranian prisoners in the United States who have been detained on false charges without going through due process, and securing their freedom had been always a priority for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The spokesman, however, denied any direct contacts with the United States over the situation of prisoners under the new US administration, noting that some messages regarding this issue have been exchanged with American officials via the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which serves as the US interests section, or foreign ministers of other countries.

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