South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Al Monitor on a potential prisoner swap with Iran:
There are numerous theories about why Iran keeps jailing Iranian-Americans, including hard-line efforts to undercut the administration of President Hassan Rouhani. Another motive, however, has been clear at least since the days of Rouhani’s predecessor: seeking to trade detainees for Iranians in US custody.
Last week, the family of Amir Hekmati, an Iranian-American ex-Marine imprisoned in Iran since visiting relatives there in 2011, released a letter sent by Hekmati to Rouhani. “For the past three years, my family has been receiving emails and phone calls from individuals in Iran proposing prisoner exchanges, going so far as asking my family to lobby publicly for the release of these individuals,” the letter said.