Cit­ing virus out­break, Iran seeks pris­oner swap with US

Orlando Sentinel - - Nation & World -

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran says it is ready for un­con­di­tional pris­oner swap talks with the United States be­cause of fears that the coro­n­avirus could put the lives of the pris­on­ers at risk, Ira­nian me­dia re­ported this week.

An Ira­nian news web­site, Khabaron­, quoted Cabi­net spokesman Ali Ra­biei as say­ing there is a “readi­ness for all pris­on­ers” to be dis­cussed with­out con­di­tion.

“But the U.S. has re­fused to an­swer, so far,” said Ra­biei.

A se­nior U.S. of­fi­cial, who was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said, “There has been no of­fer and no of­fer of di­rect talks.”

Ra­biei did not elab­o­rate, but Ira­nian me­dia in re­cent months said there are sev­eral Ira­ni­ans in U.S. cus­tody, in­clud­ing Sirous Asgari, a 60-year-old univer­sity pro­fes­sor.

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