STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
The speaker of Iran's Parliament is suggesting a way to free Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. Ali Larijani made that suggestion to NPR News.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
He says Rezaian and other Americans accused of spying could be part of a prisoner exchange. It's the first time a senior Iranian official has publicly suggested this idea.
INSKEEP: Now, Larijani does not have direct authority over the prisoners, but the lawmaker is close to those who do. His brother leads Iran's courts. They're part of an influential family. Ali Larijani was here in New York City yesterday for a United Nations meeting, and he took our questions.
Can you see a practical way that Iran's government could release Jason Rezaian and other Americans who've been held in Iran for months and years?
ALI LARIJANI: (Through interpreter) There are practical ways, of course. For example, there are - there is a number of Iranians imprisoned here. Definitely, for such matters of this sort, one can come up with ways and solutions. I think your politicians know about those ways.
INSKEEP: There was an occasion recently with Cuba where the United States exchanged prisoners with Cuba. Is that what you're suggesting in this instance?
LARIJANI: (Through interpreter) That's one way. There are other ways that the judiciary systems of the two countries can come up with.
INSKEEP: That's Iran's speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani, in an NPR interview yesterday. Now here's how his remarks differ from those made by other Iranian officials.
MONTAGNE: Last month, an Iranian diplomat did raise the idea of a prisoner swap, only to dismiss it.
INSKEEP: Another official spoke in general terms about 19 Iranians imprisoned in the United States but did not mention a trade.
MONTAGNE: Most of the time, Iranian officials simply say the U.S. has no business asking about people in Iranian jails.
INSKEEP: Now Ali Larijani is saying the U.S. could do business with Iran so long as it's willing to trade. This was one part of a wide-ranging talk. We also discussed the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States, as well as other world powers. We'll hear that part of our conversation Tuesday just as Congress prepares to vote on the deal.
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