According to Reuters, negotiations between Washington and Tehran on the exchange of prisoners have been ongoing for some time.
The United States called on Tehran to send a charter plane so that Iran could pick up 11 citizens that Washington wants to deport. The United States also accused the Islamic Republic of stopping the repatriation process.
“We have 11 of your citizens who are illegal immigrants whom we tried to return to your country. You suddenly DECLARED that you want to return them, so how about sending a charter plane, and we will return all 11 at once? ”Said Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, on Twitter.
He added that Washington had been trying for months to return Sirus Asgari, an Iranian professor who had been acquitted in November of stealing trade secrets and that Tehran was delaying the process.
Cuccinelli did not mention the exchange of prisoners between the two countries, which led to the severance of diplomatic relations 40 years ago, which, according to sources in Iran, referred to by Reuters, is still in process. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif said Monday that Tehran is ready to exchange prisoners.
“In 2018, I announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran was ready to exchange all American prisoners in Iran for all Iranians who are in prisons in the United States or ended up in prisons in other countries due to US pressure,” Zarifa quotes the Tasnim Iranian news agency. “. “This is what we have been saying for a long time. The Americans have not yet answered us. ”
Reuters reported last week that the United States should have deported Asgari, who had been diagnosed with coronavirus more than two weeks ago after he received medical permission to leave.
Reuters Iranian sources said that negotiations have been held for the exchange of prisoners between the United States and Iran for some time and that Washington has been negotiating the release of Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran who has been in jail in Iran since 2018. He was released in mid-March for medical reasons but remains in Iran.