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Iran ready for prisoners swap with US ‘without preconditions’

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(Last Updated On: May 10, 2020)

Iran is ready for a full prisoner swap with the US, amid the country’s fear for the health and safety of Iranians in US jails during the Pandemic, a local news outlet reported.

“We are ready to exchange Iranian and American prisoners and we are ready to discuss this issue without with the US without any preconditions, “ Ali Rabiei, Iran’s government spokesperson said quoted by the Khabar online, an Iranian media agency.

Rabiei said that the US yet to respond to Iran’s proposal.

“We hope that as the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease threatens the lives of Iranian citizens in the US prisons, the US government eventually will prefer lives to politics… We are worried about the safety and health of Iranians in jail. . . We hold America responsible for Iranians’ safety amid the new Coronavirus outbreak,” the Iranian official said.

Rabiei added that it seems that the US has more readiness to bring the situation to an end.

In a rare act of cooperation between two longtime rivals, the US and Iran swapped prisoners in 2019 — American graduate student Xiyue Wang, detained for three years on spying charges, and imprisoned Iranian stem-cell researcher Massoud Soleimani, accused of sanction violations, AlJazeera reported.

According to the report, the exchange in December last year was facilitated by the Swiss government.

“There is no need for a third country to mediate between Iran and America for the prisoner exchange,” Rabiei has told Khabar Online.

Michael White, a US Navy veteran who has been detained in Iran since 2018, is reportedly a likely candidate to be swapped.

He was detained in Iran for allegedly insulting the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and posting private information online but he was released from prison in mid-March on medical furlough but remains in Iran.

Iran is believed to be holding at least four Americans.

Iran says U.S. authorities are holding some 20 Iranian nationals in jail.

It comes as, so far, 1,309,698 people in the United States have been infected with the COVID-19 with 78,799 deaths, while Iran witnessed 107,603 positive cases with 6,640 fatalities.

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IEA faces serious challenges that need to be addressed: Mullah Yaqoob

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, acting defense minister, on Wednesday said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is facing serious challenges which need to be addressed.

Addressing an event at the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan 400 bed Military hospital in Kabul, Mullah Yaqoob said Afghans have suffered for 40 years.

“These serious problems have been ongoing for many years. There are problems. There is chaos, everything is not good,” said Mullah Yaqoob.

In his first appearance before the media, he also called on businessmen to invest in the country’s health sector.

“Traders should invest in the health sector, so Afghans don’t have to go to other countries for treatment,” he added.

The acting minster of public health meanwhile, called on the world to continue providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

“In the health sector, deep reforms should be brought,” said Qallandar Abad, acting minster of public health.

Some doctors meanwhile called on the IEA to take the needs of health workers into consideration.

“We urge the minister of public health to not exclude our military doctors from their lists to receive money for salaries and medical equipment,” said Tahir Ahrar, a military commander.

This comes amid serious warnings by health officials that the country’s health sector is on the verge of collapse.

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Iran urges support for Afghanistan to ward off threat of terrorism

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday evening after the meeting on Afghanistan that humanitarian and economic support should be provided to Afghanistan so that insurgent groups do not use the current crisis to recruit soldiers.

Addressing a press conference after the foreign minister’s meeting on Afghanistan in Tehran, Abdollahian said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is a reality and they are running the interim government and should be encouraged to work towards the establishment of an inclusive government.

Abdollahian said delegates attending the meeting insisted that Afghanistan’s central bank assets be released for the sake of the country’s economy.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres, meanwhile told delegates he was “deeply concerned” about human rights abuses and attacks in Afghanistan since the IEA took control.

In a pre-recorded video message, the UN Secretary-General said that Afghanistan was facing a growing humanitarian crisis that needed immediate action.

Guterres recalled the UN’s engagement with the IEA to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

Moscow meanwhile has consistently advocated for the creation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan and has no plans to impose its recommendations on the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a video address.

“Russia is not inclined to impose its advice or recommendations on anyone. Moreover, history itself offers effective ways to solve problems. It’s vital to take the interests of the country’s major ethnic and political forces into account to the fullest extent possible,” he said.

“This is why we have been firmly and consistently supporting the creation of a truly inclusive Afghan government,” he stated.

“The people need to be sure that their rights and legitimate aspirations will be implemented through action, not just words, and will also be protected by law, certainly based on respect for local traditions and customs,” Lavrov explained.

On the other hand, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that IEA officials want efficient engagement with the international community.

The people of Afghanistan are facing a severe economic situation, and their money should be released by other countries, he added.

In addition, Qureshi stressed that there must be a joint fight against terrorism at the regional level because the activities of terrorist groups are a threat to the region.

Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that IEA officials are eager to have dialogue with the rest of the world, and the international community should help Afghanistan with its development.

In an address delivered by video link to conference participants, Wang said Beijing was ready to host further talks between Afghanistan and its neighbours on the country’s future.

“The Taliban (IEA) are eager to have dialogue with the world … China will host the third Neighbours of Afghanistan meeting at the appropriate time,” Wang said in comments broadcast live by Iranian state TV.

The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.

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IEA eager for dialogue with the world: China’s Wang Yi

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials are eager to have dialogue with the rest of the world, and the international community should help Afghanistan with its development, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday.

In an address delivered by video link to a conference in Iran on Afghanistan, Wang said Beijing was ready to host further talks between Afghanistan and its neighbours on the country’s future.

“The Taliban (IEA) are eager to have dialogue with the world … China will host the third Neighbours of Afghanistan meeting at the appropriate time,” Wang said in comments broadcast live by Iranian state TV.

The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.

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