The tensions escalated after Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out Washington from Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran. (Photo Credit: Twitter/@WhiteHouse)
The United States on Tuesday urged Iran to release all American prisoners held in the country as the threat of coronavirus outbreak looms large over its prisons. “Reports that COVID-19 has spread to Iranian prisons are deeply troubling and demand nothing less than the full and immediate release of all American citizen, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said in a statement. He added, “The United States will hold the Iranian regime directly responsible for any American deaths. Our response will be decisive.”
Moreover, the official news agency of Iran’s judiciary quoted Asghar Jahangir, the head of Iran’s prisons organization, saying that “about 70,000 prisoners” had been released in order to curb the outbreak.
On Tuesday, Iran reported 54 new deaths due to the coronavirus, the highest death toll, the country witnessed since the deadly outbreak in the Islamic Republic.
A UN rights expert said Iran’s response to curb the transmission of deadly coronavirus, which includes releasing 70,000 prisoners, was “too little, too late.”
United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, maitained that Iran was trying to ‘fudge’ its handling of coronavirus.
Iran has witnessed the deadliest impact of COVID-19 after China, where the deadly virus originated.
However, Tehran said in December that it was ready for more prisoner swaps with Washington after scientist Massoud Soleimani was handed over to it in exchange for Xiyue Wang, an American citizen of Chinese origin.
The tensions between Iran and the United States escalated after US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out Washington from Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018. The deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed between Iran and five permanent members of UNSC plus Germany in 2015.
(With inputs from Agencies)