On Tuesday, a statement issued by Iranian authorities announced that Tehran is holding talks with the US administration regarding prisoner exchanges. The aim of the ongoing talks is reportedly to ensure the release of Iranians who are under arrest in the US as well as other countries’ jails over violations of US sanctions imposed on Iran.
In the statement, Iran’s government spokesperson Ali Rabiei said, “Negotiations are underway on the exchange of prisoners between Iran and America, and we will issue more information if Iranian prisoners are released, and the country’s interests are secured, and the talks reach a conclusion.”
Speaking at a news conference conducted by a government website, Rabiei stated that his country is ready to release all American political prisoners in exchange for Iranian prisoners who have been under custody all around the world upon the request of the US.
US authorities have not yet commented on Iranian officials’ remarks.
The aforementioned negotiations could be considered as another branch of the talks between Tehran and Washington, proceeding to revive the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna. Continuing since April, the talks in Vienna have been suspended for three weeks following the June 18 presidential election in Iran.
Some analysts link this adjournment in restarting the nuclear talks with the internal dynamics in Iran. According to some, reaching an agreement, which would pave the way for halting sanctions on Iran, is being willingly reserved for the new president. Thus, Ebrahim Raisi will win his first diplomatic victory in the eyes of Iranians.
On the nuclear issue, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Monday that “We’re not imposing a deadline on these talks, but… we are conscious that as time proceeds Iran’s nuclear advances will have a bearing on our view of ultimately returning to the JCPOA,”
In May, Iranian media reported that Tehran and Washington had reached an agreement on a prisoner swap in exchange for the release of $7 billion frozen Iranian oil funds in several countries. The claim was denied by the US.