State Dept. Now Denying Any Deal Made With Iran For Release Of Prisoners

State Dept. Now Denying Any Deal Made With Iran For Release Of Prisoners

Over the weekend, the United States denied reports that were made by the Iranian state television that there had been a deal reached between the two countries that involved an exchange of $7 billion in Frozen Iranian oil funds under sanctions in other countries for the release of prisoners.

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Iranian state television went on to report on Sunday that Tehran would now be freeing four Americans in custody who have been accused of spying in exchange for four Iranians being held in the U.S. and the release of the frozen funds.

The government has denied that any such exchange is currently in the works.

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The state TV, quoting an unnamed Iranian official, also said British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be released once Britain had paid off a debt on military equipment owed to Tehran.

A British Foreign Office official played down that report.

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Iran and world powers are holding talks to revive the 2015 nuclear accord that Washington abandoned three years ago and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Iranian officials told Reuters last month that an interim deal could be a way to gain time for a lasting settlement that involved unfreezing Iranian funds blocked under U.S. sanctions.

“Informed source says Biden administration has agreed to release four Iranian prisoners jailed for bypassing U.S. sanctions in exchange for four American ‘spies’,” the Iranian state TV report went on to say in a broadcast on Sunday.

“Release of Nazanin Zaghari in exchange for UK’s payment of its 400 million pound debt to Iran has also been finalized. The source also said the Biden administration has agreed to pay Iran $7 billion,” it continued.

Back in Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price responded by saying, “Reports that a prisoner swap deal has been reached are not true.”

“As we have said, we always raise the cases of Americans detained or missing in Iran. We will not stop until we are able to reunite them with their families,” he went on to say.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain also echoed Price’s comments.

Ron Klain, White House chief of staff, also denied the report. “Unfortunately, that report is untrue. There is no agreement to release these four Americans,” Klain said during an interview conducted with CBS News program, “Face the Nation.”

Iran is claiming that $20 billion of its oil revenue has been frozen in nations like South Korea, Iraq, and China due to the U.S. sanctions which have been in effect since 2018.

Jake Sullivan, U.S. national security adviser, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” program where he too stated no deal had yet been reached with Iran.

“There is still a fair distance to travel to close the remaining gaps,” Sullivan stated. “And those gaps are over what sanctions the United States and other countries will roll back. They are over what nuclear restrictions Iran will accept on its program to ensure that they can never get a nuclear weapon.”