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Zarif Proposed Prisoner Swap for Jailed British-Iranian

Thursday 25 April 2019

LYON (euronews) — Iran has suggested it is open to the idea of a prisoner swap involving a British-Iranian mother who has been jailed since 2016.

Speaking to Asia Society in New York on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said he felt sorry for the woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, before offering an exchange: “I put this offer on the table publicly now […] Exchange them. All these people that are in prison.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport in 2016, and was later found guilty of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government. She has strongly denied the charges against her, and maintains she was visiting Iran to see her family. The British government has deemed Iran’s behaviour in the case as “unacceptable”.

In the interview, Zarif also claimed Iran had informed the United States six months earlier that it was ready for a prisoner exchange, but was yet to receive a response. “If they tell you anything else, they are lying”, he added. But, speaking to Reuters after the interview, Zarif appeared to backtrack on his exchange suggestion for Zaghari-Ratcliffe, saying his offer was only toward people detained on behalf of extradition requests by the United States. “The Iranian-British woman is a separate case”, he said.

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