US Republicans Wanted Prisoner Swap Delayed

US Republicans Wanted Prisoner Swap Delayed US Republicans Wanted Prisoner Swap Delayed

The top security official disclosed on Thursday that US Republicans had demanded Tehran suspend the January prisoner swap deal with Washington until the US presidential election.

"US Republicans sent a message to Tehran, demanding we don't release the American spies until the presidential race starts in the US," Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said on Thursday.

"However, we released the US prisoners through an independent decision," Fars News Agency quoted him as saying.

Shamkhani, who was addressing a Thursday rally in the city of Yazd to mark the 37th anniversary of the victory of Islamic Revolution, stated, "During the prisoner swap talks, we showed that we will never be affected by domestic or foreign pressure. The decision to release the American prisoners was made on humanitarian grounds and after being approached by their families. Ultimately, the decision was made based on our national security interests as well as the fact that our own people were being held in US prisons."

On January 16, Iran freed four US prisoners, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and an Iranian-American Nosratollah Khosravi. A fifth man—described as a recently detained student named Matthew Trevithick—was also separately released.

According to the swap deal, the US also freed seven Iranian-Americans who were held for sanctions-related charges and asked the Interpol to stop the prosecution of 14 other Iranian nationals. But according to what Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said, the number of Iranians whose charges have been dropped stands at 21.

The seven Iranian inmates freed by the US were named as Nader Modanlou, Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afqahi, Arash Ghahreman, Touraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh and Ali Sabounchi.