White House secretly reached out to Iran for talks on prisoners: report

White House secretly reached out to Iran for talks on prisoners: report

The White House secretly reached out to Iran late last year to float the idea of establishing a channel to negotiate the release of prisoners, according to The Wall Street Journal

Iran reportedly did not respond to that request last December, or to three subsequent ones. 

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Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon originally reached out to Iranian officials in Vienna during a meeting on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Journal reported. 

The newspaper added that relatives of Iranians in custody were briefed on the discussions. 

“We look for every opportunity we can to bring attention to the fact that we would like to see American prisoners held unjustly in Iran released and that is done through a variety of mechanisms,” Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein told the Journal. 

The Hill has reached out to the White House and the State Department for comment. 

At least four Americans are being held in Iran.

The Trump administration has taken a hard stance of Iran, repeatedly blasting the multination Iranian nuclear deal made under the Obama administration and accusing Tehran of supporting Yemeni rebels in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.