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Iran says respect from Trump could lead to prisoner swap

Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Wolfgang Kumm/DPA/Abaca Press/TNS)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Sunday suggested a show of respect from President Donald Trump could help lead to a prisoner swap.

“It is a possibility, certainly from a humanitarian perspective, but — but it requires a change of attitude,” Zarif said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.

Zarif said it would also require “a change of language” from Trump, according to a partial transcript provided by the network.

Trump has long taken a hawkish view on Iran, blasting the nuclear agreement struck by President Barack Obama and Tehran’s leadership on a number of issues.

Zarif was asked about American prisoners being held in Iran, and whether he’d be willing to sit down with the Trump administration to talk about them.

“It is important, as I said, for the administration to show the ability to engage in a respectful discourse,” he said. “Before you make demands, the United States needs to learn how to treat other sovereign nations.”

Zarif said that means showing “respect” toward Iran, including not talking about “this illusion about regime change.”

In an earlier excerpt released by CBS, Zarif said Iran was “ready” to resume its nuclear weapons program if Trump resumes sanctions and withdraws from the 2015 multilateral agreement.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to improve or scrap the deal, which waived sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on the country’s nuclear activities. He’s called it the “worst deal ever.”


© 2018 Bloomberg News

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