The US has disputed Iranian reports that Washington and Tehran have reached a prisoner exchange deal. “Claims by Iranian officials that we have reached an agreement to release American citizens wrongfully detained by Iran are false,” the White House said. The United States says it is still working to secure the release of three Iranian-Americans detained in Iran.
Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amiraptolahian told state television that Iran and the United States had indeed reached an agreement on a prisoner exchange. Amirabtullahian said he expects the transfer to happen soon.
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Everything will be ready on the Iranian side, the minister said, only the Americans are still engaged in final preparations. At that time, it is not yet known how many prisoners will be involved in the deal and under what conditions. The news channel Al Jazeera wrote a few weeks ago that talks were underway between representatives of the two countries under the mediation of Qatar.
Three Americans are currently imprisoned in Iran. Instead, Tehran wants the release of at least thirteen Iranians in US prisons.
Appeal to Biden
On Thursday, one of the three Americans detained in Iran appealed to US President Joe Biden via CNN news channel. Siamak Namasi has been serving a 10-year prison sentence for espionage since 2016. “Put the lives and liberties of innocent Americans above all politics, and I urge you to end this nightmare and take us home.”
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Namasi had made the same request to Biden through a letter on January 16. The day marks seven years since Iran released five Americans as part of the 2015 nuclear deal. Relations between Tehran and Washington are currently deadlocked as the US pulls out of the accord, with negotiations for a new deal deadlocked.
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