It's for Iranians to decide about regime change: US
Washington: The US on Wednesday said it is for the people of Iran to decide about regime change in their country and ruled out playing any role in this regard.
"That (the issue of regime change) is ultimately a matter for the Iranian people," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, PJ Crowley, told reporters here.
"There is a government in Iran. As we have said clearly for the past year, we are prepared to engage this government out of mutual interest and mutual respect to resolve the nuclear concerns that we have and the international community shares, as well as engage in a broad-based dialogue on a range of issues, concerns that we have, concerns that Iran has."
Crowley said for a variety of reasons, Iran has been unable and unwilling to constructively engage in this dialogue.
"But what you're seeing in Iran is questions that the Iranian people have about its government stemming from the election in June, the results of which were not credible," he said.
"So it is up to Iran to answer the questions that its people have. If there's a question of legitimacy, that question rests in the eyes of the Iranian people. That's not a matter for the United States to judge," Crowley clarified.
The State Department spokesman said he expects that there will be a P-5+1 (US, UK, Russia, China and France plus Germany) consultations on Iran in coming days. "I am still not exactly sure of the form it will take, but I would expect that
to happen in the next few days."
Crowley also ruled out any swapping of prisoners between Iran and the United States.
"There are no negotiations taking place between the United States and Iran regarding a prisoner swap. I think from our standpoint, we have repeatedly called on Iran to release our citizens," he said.
The US citizens in Iranian custody include Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fatal, Shane Bauer, Reza Taghavi and Kian Tajbakhsh.
"We all remain concerned about the whereabouts of Robert Levinson and have communicated that through our protecting power in Tehran repeatedly. If there is a suggestion that Iran is willing to move forward and resolve the issues surrounding US citizens in Iranian custody, we would obviously welcome that opportunity.”
"As we said yesterday, this is a step that, in our view, is long overdue for Iran to meet its international obligations," he said. "We also have clearly stated publicly that, 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 there is no justification for swapping of prisoners.
"There's not really an equivalence, if you will, between, say, an Iranian citizen who has been indicted and/or convicted of arms trafficking in violation of international law, and three hikers who wandered across an unmarked border. So I think we're not interested in a swap, per se. We are interested in resolving the cases of our citizens who we think should be released immediately," he said.