US Move to Reject Prisoner Swap Deal with Tehran ‘Outrageous’, Iran Says

Iran’s foreign ministry has hit out at the US, saying its denial of a deal with Tehran to exchange prisoners is outrageous.

Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh made the comment after the spokesman for the US Department of State denied any such deal and accused Iran of an “outrageous” effort to deflect blame for the impasse in the Vienna talks on revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

“’outrageous’=the US denying simple fact that ‘there IS an agreed deal on the matter of the detainees’. Even on how to announce it,” Khatibzadeh said in a tweet.

“Humanitarian swap was agreed with US & UK in Vienna-separate from JCPOA- on release of 10 prisoners on all sides. Iran is ready to proceed TODAY.”

Iran’s top negotiator in the Vienna talks broke the news on the deal on Saturday. Abbas Araqchi, the deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said in a tweet, that a humanitarian prisoner exchange with the US and the UK will take place on Sunday, if Washington and London meet their obligations under the swap deal. Araqchi said 10 prisoners were to be swapped overall. 

However, Spokesman for the US Department of State Ned Price claimed “there is no agreed deal yet”.

“We had been engaged in indirect talks on the detainees in

the context of the Vienna process, and the delay in restarting

that process is not helping,” Price added. 

“While it would be more effective to make progress if we were meeting in Vienna, we are also prepared to continue with talks on detainees during this period.”

Araqhi had earlier warned that the deal on exchanging prisoners is not linked with the Vienna talks on the nuclear agreement. 

He also said the talks should await the new administration in Iran to take charge.

 

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