Switzerland supports prisoner exchange between the USA and Iran
On 18 September 2023, the USA and Iran finalised the exchange of five Iranian and American prisoners in the Qatari capital Doha. Switzerland was involved with its good offices in the run-up to and during the prisoner exchange itself.
The USA and Iran have each released five Iranian and American prisoners respectively. Switzerland was involved in the prisoner exchange as part of its good offices. © FDFA
On 18 September, Switzerland was able to hand over five US citizens, released by Iran, to the US authorities in Doha, Qatar. In return, the US has released five Iranian nationals. Just two of them return to Iran. Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis welcomed in a tweet the humanitarian gesture between the USA and Iran. Switzerland was involved in the prisoner exchange as part of its good offices.
Thanks to its many years of experience and expertise, Switzerland was able to contribute significantly to the success of this humanitarian gesture. For example, it facilitated a related transfer of blocked funds from South Korea to Iran. The funds may only be used for humanitarian purposes. Switzerland played a major role in the process by providing its good offices at the request of all the parties involved. On 18 September, Switzerland was able to hand over five US citizens, released by Iran, to the US authorities in Doha, Qatar.
The good offices are an important instrument of Swiss foreign policy. Their aim is to resolve differences and conflicts between and within countries by political means. Just trying to the keep channels of communication open is often crucial to preventing disputes from escalating and mitigating their effects.
Switzerland's good offices, which have a long tradition as part of Swiss foreign policy, include safeguarding foreign interests. This year, it was also possible to terminate the protecting power mandates for Saudi Arabia in Iran and for Iran in Saudi Arabia. Switzerland also supported this step, which will increase stability in the region.
In addition to the protecting power mandate for the US in Iran, Switzerland is currently exercising four other protecting power mandates: for Russia in Georgia, Georgia in Russia, Iran in Egypt and Iran in Canada.