U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer was quoted in the influential blog Politico urging the resolution of Kian’s case, along with those of other missing and detained Americans in Iran:
“…In what was being reported as a potentially signficant shift, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranian State Television today that Iran is ready to send its uranium abroad…
A western diplomatic source said Ahmadinejad’s comments reflect that Iran is nervous about the threat of further sanctions and pressure…
Ahmadinejad also reportedly told Iranian State TV that Iran would consider exchanging U.S. citizens being detained in Iran for Iranians being held abroad. “We are having talks to have an exchange if it is possible,” Ahmadinejad was cited. “We are hopeful that all prisoners will be released.”
The NSC’s [Mike] Hammer stressed that the reports of what Ahmadinejad said are fragmentary, and the U.S. has not entered into any discussion with Iran about an exchange.
“We have made clear that we would like the cases of all our missing and detained Americans citizens to be resolved,” Hammer said, including those of “Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer, Kian Tajbakhsh, Reza Taghavi, and Robert Levinson.”
Shourd, Fattal and Bauer have been detained in Iran since accidentally wandering into Iran while hiking in northern Iraq last summer. Tajbakhsh is an Iranian-American scholar arrested in Iran in the post-elections dispute. Robert Levinson is a former FBI agent who went missing while meeting a contact in Kish Island almost three years ago.
“If President Ahmadinejad’s comments suggest that they are prepared to resolve these cases, we would welcome that step,” Hammer continued. “But we have not entered into any discussion with Iran about an exchange. As we have indicated publicly, if Iran has questions about its citizens in U.S. custody, we are prepared to answer them.”
POLITICO previously reported that Swiss diplomats acting as intermediaries have told U.S. officials that Iran was seeking to link the case of the three U.S. hikers detained in Iran, and several Iranians detained in the U.S., Europe and Canada, many on export control violation-related charges.”
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