DUBAI: Iran insisted on a prisoner swap arrangement with the United States on Sunday, according to an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson, despite Washington’s denial the day before.
“It’s outrageous that the US denies the plain reality that a deal on detainees has been reached. In a tweet, Saeed Khatibzadeh remarked, “Even on how to announce it.”
“In Vienna, a humanitarian swap was agreed upon between the US and the UK — distinct from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) — involving the release of ten prisoners on each sides. Iran is ready to move forward TODAY,” the US said on Saturday, accusing Tehran of an “outrageous” attempt to deflect blame for the nuclear talks’ standstill and denying that a prisoner swap deal had been agreed.
Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, tweeted earlier on Saturday that the US and UK must cease associating a humanitarian exchange with nuclear talks.
The discussions try to revive a 2015 agreement between Iran and six major nations that limited Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. In 2018, the US pulled out of the agreement and imposed sanctions on Iran.
Iran and President Joe Biden’s administration have been in contact about prisoner swaps aimed at freeing Iranians detained in US jails and other nations for violating US sanctions, as well as Americans imprisoned in Iran. In recent years, Iran has detained hundreds of dual nationals, including numerous Americans, usually on espionage charges.
Human rights activists accuse the country of using the detentions to extort concessions from other countries, but Tehran refutes the claim.
On June 20, the sixth round of indirect talks in Vienna between Tehran and Washington came to an end. Significant gaps, according to Iranian and Western officials, remain to be bridged.