Iran-US prisoner swap facilitated by Switzerland

US Ambassador to Switzerland Edward McMullen greeted Chinese American Xiyue Wang in Zurich, where he first landed under a prisoner swap deal. Keystone

Both the US and Iran have thanked Switzerland for its role in helping to facilitate a prisoner swap between them.

This content was published on December 7, 2019 - 15:47

An Iranian detained in the United States and an American imprisoned in Iran have been released, both countries said Saturday.

Xiyue Wang, a Sino-American man detained for three years in Iran, and Massoud Soleimani, detained in the United States, will soon be able to join their relatives, Iranian diplomatic chief Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on Twitter.

“We thank our Swiss partners for their assistance in negotiating Mr. Wang’s release with Iran,” said US President Donald Trump in a statement released by the White House. “Freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to my Administration, and we will continue to work hard to bring home all our citizens wrongfully held captive overseas." 

Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran since 1980, when it broke off relations. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also thanked Switzerland. "Glad that Professor Massoud Soleimani and Mr. Xiyue Wang will be joining their families shortly,” he said in a tweet. “Many thanks to all engaged, particularly the Swiss government." 

Washington has demanded that Iran release all the Americans it is holding, including a navy veteran imprisoned last year and a former FBI agent missing since 2007. Several dozen Iranians are being held in US jails, many of them for breaking sanctions. 

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