Iran US Prisoner Swap

President Ahmadinejad on Tuesday proposed a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran, claiming he was willing to trade three Americans captured while crossing the Iranian border for Iranians detained in the U.S.
The three Americans have been held in Iran since July on spying charges. Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, were arrested July 31 after waking across the Iraq border into Iranian territory. The Iranians Ahmadinejad proposed in to get back in return, are believed to come from a group of 11 Iranians. Nine of the Iranians are believed to be in the U.S. and charged with various crimes from the intent to export U.S. military technology to Iran to high-level service in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The United States dismissed the idea of a prisoner swap Wednesday. It said the Iranian and American prisoners could not be equated, but said the Americans set to stand trial in Iran should be freed immediately.
The State Department is also calling for the release of U.S. citizens Reza Taghavi and Kian Tajbakhsh, and remains concerned about the fate of Robert Levinson, a former CIA agent who disappeared from the island of Kish in 2007.
In a state television interview Tuesday, however, Ahmadinejad talks about exchanging prisoners with Washington were already under way. The State Department on Wednesday denied talk that a swap was being discussed. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, “We’re not interested in a swap per se. We are interested in resolving the cases of our citizens.
“To the extent that Iran has questions about Iranian citizens in US custody, we would remain… willing to entertain those questions and facilitate consular access, if that’s what Iran desires,” Crowley said.


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