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UK rejects Iran prisoner swap proposal

LONDON, April 25 (KUNA) -- The British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has rebuffed Iran's proposal for swapping a British-Iranian woman for an Iranian woman held in Australia and facing a US extradition warrant over espionage charges.
In statements to reporters Thursday, Hunt said that there is a huge difference between the British woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is held in Iran and the Iranian woman Negar Ghodskani who is held in Australia.
"The woman in jail in Australia is facing due process, a proper legal procedure, and she is alleged to have committed a very serious crime," he said.
"Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is innocent... she has done nothing wrong." Hunt also accused Iran of using innocent people as tools for bergain.
"I hope that the outcome of this will not just be freedom for Nazanin but actually the ending of this practice by Iran, which is absolutely vile and they are basically the only country in the world that does it," he said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif on Wednesday suggested that Zaghari-Ratcliffe could be released as part of a prisoner swap.
The British-Iranian woman was sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying.
Ghodskani, a legal resident of Australia, was arrested in 2017 after US prosecutors said she sought US digital communications technology by presenting herself as an employee of a Malaysian company.
US prosecutors said she in fact was sending the technology to Iranian company Fanamoj, which works in public broadcasting. (end) kd.ibi