Iran says Americans proposed prisoner swap for US journalist

Iran says Americans proposed prisoner swap for US journalist
© Getty Images

Unidentified Americans have contacted Iran to propose a deal to swap Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian for unspecified detainees, a senior Iranian official said on Sunday.

"Some Americans contact us sometimes, asking us to exchange him with other detainees, but the sentence has not been announced yet," Iran's Fars news agency quoted judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei as saying, according to Reuters. 

A senior White House official contacted by Reuters did not want to comment on the claim, but said, "We're not going to comment on every public remark by Iranian officials concerning our detained and missing citizens. We continue to make all efforts to bring our citizens home."

Rezaian, a 39-year-old Californian-born Iranian-American, was arrested in July 2014 while working for the Post in Tehran. He was convicted on charges of espionage in October, but his sentence has not been announced.  

Five other American citizens are also believed to be held in Iran: Christian pastor Saeed Abedini; former Marine sergeant Amir Hekmati; American-Lebanese information technology expert Nizar Zakka; U.S.-Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi and private investigator Robert Levinson. 

Rezaian's continued imprisonment coincides with Iranian takes steps to implement the nuclear deal negotiated with Washington and five other nations. 

Under that deal, sanctions related to Tehran's nuclear activities will be lifted, as early as this month, in exchange for limits on its nuclear program for 10 to 15 years.