The American president, Donald Trump, thanked Iran on Saturday for the "very fair negotiation" that allowed an exchange of prisoners between these two countries, which was organized in Switzerland.
An American man jailed in Iran, Xiyue Wang, and an Iranian detained in the United States, Massoud Soleimani, were released today.
“It has been fantastic to show that we can achieve something. Maybe it's a foretaste of what you can get, ”Trump said in the White House.RELATED
Shortly before, the president had tweeted: “Many thanks to Iran for a very fair negotiation. Come, we can reach an agreement together! ”
I feel "glad that Professor Masud Soleimani and Mr. Xiyue Wang return soon with their families," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif tweeted.
The chancellor also sent "a big thank you to everyone involved, especially the Swiss government," which represents American interests in Tehran in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries since 1980.
"Switzerland confirms its role in the humanitarian gesture that took place in its territory and led to the release of Soleimani and Wang," said the Swiss Foreign Ministry.
Photos published by Washington show that Wang was received by US diplomats on the runway at the Zurich airport.
Xiyue Wang, a researcher of Chinese origin, was serving a 10-year prison sentence for espionage. PhD in History from Princeton University in the United States, Wang was investigating the Qajar dynasty in Iran, where he was arrested in 2016.
Masud Soleimani, a professor at the University of Tarbiat Moddares de Tehran and a stem cell specialist, had traveled to the United States in October 2018 for an investigation. He was arrested upon arrival at the Chicago airport and transferred to an Atlanta prison, according to Iran's state agency, Irna.
In a statement, the head of US diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, thanked the Swiss government and was glad that Tehran "has been constructive in this matter."
"We continue to call for the release of all US citizens unjustly detained in Iran," he added.
On condition of anonymity, a senior US official said he hoped Wang's release would indicate that "Iranians may be ready to discuss all these issues," including nuclear and weapons programs, "US hostages" detained in Iran and "Harmful activities" of Tehran in the region.
"The campaign of maximum pressure that President Trump has launched is working and is highly effective," said the US official, recalling that Trump said he was ready to "meet with the Iranians without preconditions."
"There has been absolutely no cash payment or lifting of sanctions or any kind of concession or rescue" in exchange for Wang's release, he insisted.
Accusations of espionage
Zarif shared photos on Twitter with Soleimani on a plane and wrote: "Back home."
The academic was "released a few moments later, after a year of illegal detention and handed over to Iranian officials in Switzerland," Irna said.
Relations between Iran and the United States have deteriorated greatly since May 2018, when President Trump decided that his country withdrew from the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program and again imposed sanctions on Tehran.
"Unusual good news on the US-Iran front," said Robert Malley, president of the International Crisis Group.
The arrests of foreigners in Iran, particularly binationals, often accused of espionage, have multiplied since that withdrawal from the United States.
Likewise, the number of Iranians detained abroad is not officially known.
Deprived of the economic benefits that he expected from the nuclear agreement, Iran began in May 2019 to break some of its commitments under the agreement.