Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi did not confirm latest reports on an alleged agreement made between Tehran and Washington for the reciprocal release of prisoners between Iran and the United States.
Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks on Sunday in response to some reports carried by certain foreign media that Iran and the US have agreed on exchanging of eight prisoners and the unfreezing of seven billion dollars of Iran’s blocked assets, IRNA reported.
Tehran denies those reports, said the Iranian diplomat.
However, Iran has always emphasized comprehensive exchange of prisoners between the two countries, he added.
As Takht-Ravanchi noted, the Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly presented the issue of exchange of prisoners, but the American side has rejected it under baseless excuses.
Some Iranians are in American jails under the excuse of ignoring US illegitimate and unilateral sanctions on Iran.
Foreign Ministry rejects report on prisoners swap
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has also denied reports citing unknown sources that Tehran had made a deal on prisoners swap with the US.
Saeed Khatibzadeh said during his weekly virtual press briefing that the issue of Iranian prisoners in the US has always been on the agenda for Iran and there have been plans and ideas on this matter, independent from the talks on the nuclear issue.
However, the spokesman added, the Foreign Ministry didn’t confirm reports citing informd sources that Iran and the US had reached a deal on prisoners swap.
British authorities, too, have reportedly said that they were in legal talks with Iranian officials to free the Iranian-British citizen Nazanin Zaghari. However, Khatibzadeh underlined that there have been no legal talks between Iran and the UK.
Zaghari, 42, was originally sentenced to imprisonment on charges of espionage for the UK. Iran’s intelligence authorities arrested Zaghari, who also holds a British passport, at Imam Khomeini International Airport in April 2016 as she was about to board a plane to London.
An Iranian Judiciary official said in June 2016 that Zaghari was arrested over her involvement in post-election riots that engulfed Tehran and some other cities in 2009.
Her Lawyer Hojjat Kermani told IRNA in March that during the past year, she has been under home arrest with electronic shackles tied to her feet, allowing her to move within 300 meters from her father’s house in Tehran, after her five-year jail sentence was over.
However, on April 26, he said that Zaghari has been found guilty in a second case and sentenced to one more year in prison.
Kermani added that his client has been sentenced to one year in prison and a one-year ban from leaving the country “on charges of propaganda against the Islamic Establishment by participating in a rally outside the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009 and interviewing the BBC Persian network."