Kansas ties helped broker Iranian, US prisoner swap


State News

December 11, 2019 - 9:52 AM

The American is Xiyue Wang, a history student at Princeton who was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage. ( U.S. Embassy in Switzerland and Liechtenstein)

WASHINGTON — On a trip to Iran a decade ago, former Rep. Jim Slattery exchanged a “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” cheer with an Iranian official who had attended the University of Kansas and remembered Slattery’s time as a Democratic congressman from the state.

Slattery struck up a friendship with Majid Takht-Ravanchi, now Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, based on their Kansas ties.

This relationship — and others Slattery has built with Iranian officials in the years since he left Congress — played a role in brokering an international prisoner swap this month between the U.S. and Iran after decades of hostility.

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