Washington 0
11 December 2019

Referring to the Iranian foreign minister’s tweet on Iran’s readiness “for comprehensive prisoner exchange” following the 7 December detainee swap, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said that “Foreign Minister Zarif unfortunately has a long history of creating a sense of false hope with American families. On a regular basis, he says things that we then follow up and test the offer, and then we discovered that there is no offer”. Noting that “we were able to get a successful exchange this time, and it was a fair negotiation”, Hook stressed that “we don't think it's all that helpful for any sort of talking about prisoners in public. We just try to do this in quiet diplomacy and bring Americans back home… But I am going to follow up with the Iranians”. “It is a good first step, and I hope this leads to bigger and better things”, he added. Asked whether the swap would lead to negotiation on other issues, Hook said: “I don't think the diplomats in Iran that I met with have any mandate from the supreme leader to talk to the Americans… we hope at some point the supreme leader will start making better choices for his own people”. “We've asked for it [ie, consular dialogue] repeatedly and Iran keeps saying no. We're going to continue to ask for it”, he indicated.

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