Iranian, American Prisoners Released in Exchange

Iranian, American Prisoners Released in ExchangeIranian, American Prisoners Released in Exchange

An Iranian-American scientist who had been imprisoned in the United States was freed and will soon be returning home in exchange for Iran’s release of a US navy veteran from jail. 
Majid Taheri, an Iranian-American doctor, was detained for 16 months on charges of violating US sanctions. The American court closed his case following the release of Michael White who had been in prison in Iran on security charges. 
"With the release of Mr. White, Dr. Majid Taheri, the Iranian scientist who was imprisoned in the US for false reasons, was released by the court and will be freed from jail," Foreign Ministry Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying by ISNA. 
He added that the American citizen had been sentenced to prison for security crimes and private complaints. 
According to Mousavi, the plaintiffs dropped their complaints after being compensated and he was pardoned for his other crimes under Islamic clemency. 
The Swiss Foreign Ministry confirmed it played a role in what it called "the humanitarian gesture" on White and Taheri, stressing that it "stands ready" to extend further assistance.
Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran since the two countries cut diplomatic ties in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution toppled the US-backed Shah of Iran.
A couple of days earlier, the US had freed Sirous Asgari, an Iranian professor acquitted on charges of stealing trade secrets. He reunited with his family in Tehran on Wednesday.
Tehran and Washington both denied he was part of a swap with White or anyone else, calling his case separate.
The two countries had also worked on a prisoner exchange last December, in which Iran freed US citizen Xiyue Wang, who had been held for three years on spying charges, and the US freed Iranian Massoud Soleimani, who faced charges of violating US sanctions on Iran.



No Cherry Picking 

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his appreciation to Iran for setting White free. 
"So great to have Michael home. Just arrived. Very exciting. Thank you to Iran," he said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also expressed satisfaction about the return of the Iranians held in prison in the US. 
"Pleased that Dr. Majid Taheri and Mr. White will soon be joining their families. Prof. Sirous Asgari was happily reunited with his family on Weds," he tweeted. 
He, however, called for the release of all Iranians imprisoned in or by the US. 
"This can happen for all prisoners. No need for cherry picking. Iranian hostages held in—and on behalf of—the US should come home," he added. 
While thanking Iran, Trump also described the swap as a sign that a deal with Iran is possible. 
"Thank you to Iran; it shows a deal is possible!" he said on Twitter. "Don't wait until after US Election to make the Big deal. I'm going to win. You’ll make a better deal now!"  
Trump has pulled the US out of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, seeking a new and more comprehensive agreement. He is running for his second term as president in November. 
Iran has refused to enter talks with the US under pressure, unless all sanctions are removed and the damage on Iranian economy is compensated. 
Zarif said in response that a deal was already reached between Iran and the world powers, blaming the US for leaving it. 
"[...] we had a deal when you entered office. Iran & other JCPOA participants never left the table," he said, using the abbreviation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal. 
"Up to you to decide *when* you want to fix it," he added. 

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