TOKYO – The Japanese government, at the United States’ behest, has reportedly asked Iran to release several American citizens imprisoned in the Islamic Republic, according to an official cited by Japan’s Kyodo news agency.
The request was made during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Tehran this week, where he met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
The official did not specify the Iranian authorities’ response to Abe’s petition.
At least four US citizens are being held in Iran, including 46-year-old Navy veteran Michael White, who was sentenced in March to 10 years in prison for insulting the Iranian supreme leader.
Iran made a proposal to the US about a possible exchange of prisoners, but it had yet to receive a response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in April.