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The United States on Wednesday dismissed the idea of a prisoner swap with Iran, saying Americans held there should be freed immediately and cannot be equated with Iranians convicted in US courts.

In a state television interview, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that talks about exchanging prisoners with Washington were under way, when he was asked about the fate of three American hikers detained in Iran.

The State Department reacted Wednesday by dismissing the idea of a swap — an even stronger stand than the White House took on Tuesday when it denied any such talks had taken place.

“We’re not interested in a swap per se,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

“We are interested in resolving the cases of our citizens,” he said, repeating calls for the immediate release of three hikers detained six months ago. AFP

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