TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani hit back at recent comments made by US President Donald Trump against the Islamic Republic and called on Washington to immediately free Iranian citizens held in US prisons.

Speaking at a meeting with high-ranking judicial officials in Tehran on Monday, Ayatollah Amoli Larijani denounced a recent statement by the White House that demanded the release of all Americans currently being held in Iran.

“For (about) forty years, the Americans have violated the rights of our people,” he said, adding that they have kept innocent citizens of the Islamic Republic in their prisons.

“These moves are illegal and contrary to norms and international laws,” the judiciary chief said.

“We tell them here that you (the US) should immediately release Iranian citizens held captive in US prisons,” he stated.

The remarks came after Trump warned that Iran would face “new and serious consequences” unless all “unjustly detained” American citizens were released and returned, the White House said in a statement on Friday.

The statement also urged Iran to return Robert Levinson, an American former law enforcement officer, and demanded that Tehran release Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his father, Baqer, serving 10-year sentences as well as Chinese-American Xi-yue Wang, who has recently received a 10-year prison term.

In response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry slammed the statement as “interfering and threatening”, stressing that Iran’s Judiciary is an independent body dealing with the violations of national security.

“As usual, the White House’s comments are an example of interference in the internal affairs of Iran and (are therefore) unacceptable and rejected,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday.