Through Switzerland’s good offices, the US and Iranian governments have reached a new deal on the exchange of their respective prisoners.

On 7 December 2019, Switzerland had facilitated the exchange at Zurich airport between US citizen Xiyue Wang, held in Iran on spying charges, and the Iranian Massoud Soleimani, charged with violating U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

On 1 June 2020, Cyrus Asgari was released by the United States and permitted to return to Iran. After having been convicted in the Unites States for obscure reasons, on 4 June it was Scientist Majid Tahéri’s turn to be released and returned to Iran. The next day, Marine Michael White (photo with Ambassador Brian Hook), who was first transferred from his prison to the Swiss embassy in Tehran in mid-March [1] was allowed to leave the country on 5 June.

The US government has denied exchanging two Iranians for a single American, but other terms of the deal have not yet been revealed. About 20 such prisoners are still being held in the jails of both two countries.

In cases of this nature, both governments have taken liberties with the law of their respective countries. The spies were imprisoned without a real trial and released just as offhandedly.

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US Ambassadeur Brian Hook greets Xiyue Wang at Zurich Airport on 7 December 2019.

[1] “First NATO-ME War Overturns Regional Order”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 24 March 2020.