‘Hope­ful’ sign

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

The United States and Iran have not had diplo­matic ties since 1980, and re­la­tions have sharply wors­ened since Trump with­drew from an in­ter­na­tional ac­cord giv­ing Iran sanc­tions re­lief in re­turn for curbs on its nu­clear pro­gramme.

The arch-en­e­mies came to the brink of mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion in June this year when Iran downed a US drone and Trump or­dered re­tal­ia­tory strikes be­fore can­celling them at the last minute.

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo said the United States was ‘pleased that Tehran has been con­struc­tive in this mat­ter’.

A se­nior US of­fi­cial noted that Trump ‘re­mains com­mit­ted to talks with Iran with­out pre­con­di­tions’ - about Tehran’s nu­clear pro­gramme, its ‘ma­lign ac­tiv­i­ties’ in the Mid­dle East, and the deadly mass protests that have gripped the coun­try.

While Iran has so far re­buffed US of­fers of talks, the of­fi­cial said, “We’re hope­ful that the re­lease of Wang is a sign that the Ira­ni­ans may be will­ing to come to the ta­ble to dis­cuss all these is­sues.”

The of­fi­cial also voiced hope that Wang’s re­lease signals ‘the Ira­ni­ans are re­al­is­ing that the prac­tice of hostage-tak­ing diplo­macy re­ally should come to an end’.

A doc­toral can­di­date at Prince­ton, Wang was con­duct­ing re­search for his dis­ser­ta­tion on late 19th- and early 20th-cen­tury Eurasian his­tory when he was im­pris­oned in Au­gust 2016. He was serv­ing ten years on es­pi­onage charges.

‘He was not a spy, he was not in­volved in es­pi­onage and, and was wrong­fully de­tained from the start,” the US of­fi­cial said.

A state­ment on the Iranian ju­di­ciary’s Mizan On­line web­site said Wang had been ‘freed on Is­lamic clemency’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.