US, Iran reach agreement on prisoner swap, Iran claims
The U.S. and Iran have come to an agreement to exchange prisoners in the near future, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Sunday.
Amiradbollahian made the announcement during a Sunday appearance on Iranian state television, though the U.S. has yet to confirm a swap. The State Department soon rejected the official’s claim, however, saying reporters of an agreement were a “cruel lie.”
“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,” he added.
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Several U.S. citizens are currently held in Iranian custody, with charges including spying and cooperating with the U.S. government. The prisoners include Iranian-American businessmen Siamak Namazi and Emad Sharghi, as well as environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, who holds Iranian, American and British citizenship.
For years, Tehran has sought the release of more than a dozen Iranians in the United States, including seven Iranian-American dual nationals, two Iranians with permanent U.S. residency and four Iranian citizens with no legal status in the United States.
Amiradbollahian did not elaborate on details of his supposed agreement. U.S. officials say no deal has been made, though they are committed to seeking the release of Americans held in Iran.
Such an exchange would be the first high-profile prisoner swap since the U.S. traded a world-class arms dealer in exchange for WNBA Star Brittney Griner in a December deal with Russia.
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Griner had been held in Russian custody for months after law enforcement discovered cannabis in her possession.
Reuters contributed to this report.