Iran wants release of its citizens from US Jails before nuclear talks

Ali Rabiei, spokesman for the Iranian cabinet

Ali Rabiei, spokesman for the Iranian cabinet

Tehran … News Time

Iran on Tuesday demanded the release of all its citizens held captive by the United States. Iran’s demand comes at a time when indirect talks are being held between Iran and the United States in Vienna, aimed at reactivating the nuclear deal between Iran, the United States and world powers. Ali Rabiei, a spokesman for Iran’s cabinet, also hinted that there was a possibility of further prisoner exchanges between Iran and the United States. “The issue of prisoner exchanges has always been part of the agenda,” he said. According to him, from a humanitarian point of view, prisoners should be released. Ali Rabiei did not elaborate on the number of Iranian prisoners in the United States. However, he claimed that he could be harmed if his name was released, but said that there were more Iranian prisoners in Iran than Americans.

A Chinese-American scholar from Princeton, who had been serving a three-year prison term on espionage charges, was released during a prisoner exchange in 2019. At the time, Iran said about 20 Iranians were in US custody. Iran has repeatedly offered to release American prisoners in exchange for its release. When it comes to prisoner exchanges, this is considered a rare diplomatic development between Iran and the United States. Ali Rabiei said on Tuesday that the Iranian judiciary had indicated that it was ready to exchange prisoners. This is the second statement made by Iranian officials about the possible release of prisoners in two weeks. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement last week that Iran wanted the exchange of prisoners as part of ongoing talks in Vienna. Prisoners were also exchanged during the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. In recent days, Iranian media have revealed the names of seven Iranians detained in the United States, while the United States has regularly demanded the release of American citizens detained in Iran, including Siamak Namazi and Baquer Namazi, who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on espionage charges. Siamak Namazi, 46, a businessman who was arrested in 2015 for trying to establish closer ties between Iran and the West. His 81-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, was arrested in February 2016. He had gone to Iran after hearing the news of his son’s imprisonment. Baquer is a former UNICEF representative who served as governor of Iran’s oil-rich province of Khuzestan under the Iranian-backed Shah. Murad Tehbaz, an environmentalist, is also an American citizen detained in Iran. In addition to being Iranian, he is also a British and American citizen who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

There are also a number of Western prisoners in Iran, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian. She has been sentenced to five years in prison on espionage charges. He has now been sentenced to one more year in prison. She is accused of being “involved in propaganda against the regime” and of participating in a 2009 protest in front of the Iranian embassy in London. Iran does not recognize the issue of multiple citizenship means that diplomatic assistance cannot be provided to detainees. The United States did not attend the Vienna talks, but a US delegation, along with representatives of other world powers, has been in the Austrian capital, where an Iranian delegation is also present. There have also been recent incidents of sabotage at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran.


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