Tehran 0
11 May 2020

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif indicated that Sirous Asgari, an Iranian national detained in the U.S., “has been acquitted of charges and if his coronavirus test proves negative, he will return to the country with the first flight”. Zarif also told a parliamentary committee that “there is no problem in exchange of prisoners and detainees between Iran and the U.S. and we do not need negotiations and we will not hold any negotiations with the U.S. as well”, according to a parliamentary spokesperson.  A senior U.S. official subsequently addressed Zarif by saying that “after months of stalling the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as we have been trying to return Sirous Asgari, you suddenly woke up one day recently and say you actually want him back... We have eleven of your citizens who are illegal aliens who we have been trying to return to your country. You suddenly say you want them back, so how about you send a charter plane over and we’ll return all eleven at once?” Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson responded: “stop talking rubbish! Since September 2018, Zarif has put a 'universal prisoners swap' offer on the table and urged the U.S. to act responsibly with the Iranian hostages in the U.S. and elsewhere. Your regime has reacted callously and risked their lives… Let our citizens go!” Relatedly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to his Swiss counterpart and “thanked the foreign minister for Switzerland’s continued and constructive role as our protecting power in Iran and for its assistance in repatriating U.S. citizens from Iran”.

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