US rejects prisoner swap with Iran for detained hikers
Washington: The US on Wednesday rejected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad`s offer of releasing three American hikers held in Iran in exchange for Iranian citizens held in US prisons.
"We`re not interested in a swap per se. We are interested in resolving the cases of our citizens who we think, you know, should be released immediately," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters in Washington.
Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that negotiations were held to exchange the three hikers for Iranians jailed in the US without clear charges. Crowley denied such discussions had taken place, and said any Iranians being held in the US were charged with crimes.
"There`s not really an equivalence, if you will, between ... an Iranian citizen who has been indicted and/or convicted of arms trafficking in violation of, you know, international law, and three hikers who wandered across an unmarked border," Crowley said.
The three US hikers were detained by Iran in July when they strayed across the border from Iraq`s Kurdish region. They have been held in Tehran`s notorious Evin prison.
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