The Government of Iran affirmed this Sunday that it has agreed the exchange of prisoners with the United States, which has denied that a prisoner exchange between the two countries will take place.
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“We have reached an agreement on the issue of the prisoner exchange,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hosein Amir Abdolahian told Iranian television. “If all goes well, the (prisoner) exchange will take place in the next few days,” added the minister.
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The head of Iranian diplomacy said that Tehran and Washington signed a “document indirectly” in March 2022 for the exchange of prisoners and the conditions for its implementation have since been prepared. “From our point of view we are ready, and the US side is in the final part of technical issues,” according to Abdolahian.
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However, State Department spokesman Ned Price almost immediately denied that deal. “Statements by Iranian officials that a prisoner exchange deal has been reached is another cruel lie that only adds to the suffering of families,” Price said, according to US media including Fox News.
Statements by Iranian officials that a prisoner exchange deal has been reached is another cruel lie that only adds to the suffering of families.
“We are working tirelessly to secure the release of the three Americans wrongfully detained in Iran,” Price added.
Some 30 Iranians are jailed abroad on charges related to US economic sanctionsaround half of them in the United States.
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At the same time, at least a dozen Iranian dual nationals or foreign citizens, three of them Americans, are serving sentences in Iranian jails.
Iran allowed Iranian-American Baqer Namazi to leave the country in October, where he had been detained since 2016 accused of espionage.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has been accused of using prisoners, especially those with dual nationality but also from other countries, as a measure of pressure or for prisoner exchanges. This has been dubbed by other countries and human rights organizations as Iran’s “hostage diplomacy.”
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