Iran says it agrees prisoner swap with US, Washington denies claim

Iran says it agrees prisoner swap with US, Washington denies claim
# 12 March 2023 20:43 (UTC +04:00)

Iran and the United States have reached an agreement to exchange prisoners, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told state TV on Sunday, but Washington denied it as a "false" claim by Tehran, APA reports citing Reuters.

"Regarding the issue of prisoner swaps between Iran and the U.S. we have reached an agreement in the recent days and if everything goes well on the U.S. side, I think we will witness a prisoner exchange in a short period," Amirabdollahian said.

"On our part everything is ready, while the U.S. is currently working on the final technical coordination."

A White House official denied Amirabdollahian's statement about the prisoner swap, but added that the United States was committed to securing the release of Americans held in Iran.

"Claims by Iranian officials that we have reached a deal for the release of the U.S. citizens wrongfully held by Iran are false," a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said.

A source briefed on the talks said the prisoner exchange is "closer than it has ever been," but one of the remaining sticking points is linked to $7 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds under U.S. sanctions in South Korea.

"The logistics of how these funds will be exchanged and how oversight will be provided are unresolved," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

The source added that Qatar and Switzerland have been involved in the prisoner exchange talks. Iranian sources told Reuters that two regional countries were involved in the indirect talks between Tehran and Washington.

Indirect talks between Tehran and U.S. President Joe Biden's administration on reviving the agreement have stalled since September. The deal imposed restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions.