News ID: 324195
Published: 0141 GMT September 18, 2022

Iran: It’s now up to U.S. to implement prisoner swap agreement

Iran: It’s now up to U.S. to implement prisoner swap agreement
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani (2nd L) speaks to ISNA reporters during a recent visit to the Tehran-based news agency.

The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Tehran is ready to implement the agreement on the exchange of prisoners with Washington and it is now “up to the U.S. administration” to decide whether or not it wants to keep its end of the deal.

“We have already voiced our readiness to exchange inmates with the United States, and we are still ready to do so. Negotiations have been conducted in different ways over the matter, and parties have reached the necessary agreements. It is now up to the U.S. administration to decide whether it wants to implement this agreement or not. We are prepared to enforce it,” Nasser Kanaani told ISNA in an interview published on Sunday, according to Press TV.

The agreement was reached in Vienna on the sidelines of negotiations concerning the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Tehran has repeatedly said it is ready for a prisoner exchange with the United States based on the agreement, and independently of the nuclear deal, which the U.S. unilaterally abandoned in May 2018.


Insistence on political independence


Kanaani also underlined that the Islamic Republic will never sacrifice its political independence for the sake of certain diplomatic relations, roundly dismissing allegations that Russia is obstructing the Vienna talks on the JCPOA revival and removal of sanctions against Tehran.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not sacrifice its political independence for the sake of [diplomatic] relations with any other country. The same approach is also being employed throughout the sanctions removal talks. Russia is a JCPOA signatory and has naturally participated in the negotiation process and made comments.”

At some point during efforts to reach an agreement on salvaging the JCPOA, there were claims that Russia was stonewalling the process and blocking the accord. Both Iran and Russia denied such allegations.

Kanaani also rejected claims that Russia has asked Iran to delay the agreement until a later time in winter, stressing that it is the U.S. side that must take on its responsibility and contribute to the conclusion of the accord.

“The fact that America occasionally tends to level allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia is simply a blame game,” he said.

Kanaani noted that Russia and China have facilitated and are assisting the advancement of the Vienna talks, emphasizing that the official positions of Moscow and Beijing are completely in support of the nuclear negotiations and Tehran’s stance.

“The U.S. government is a party that has left the negotiations, and is now inventing excuses and obstructing the conclusion of the final agreement. It is worth mentioning that the political independence of the Islamic Republic of Iran is so important that it will not be influenced by the political view of any other country,” he said.

The United States, under former president Donald Trump, abandoned the agreement in May 2018 and reinstated unilateral sanctions that the agreement had lifted.

The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in Vienna in April last year, months after Joe Biden succeeded Trump, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing the anti-Iran sanctions.

Despite notable progress, the U.S. indecisiveness and procrastination caused multiple interruptions in the marathon talks.


Call on Riyadh


The top Iranian diplomat also called on Saudi Arabia to adopt serious measures on humanitarian grounds and release Iranian national Khalil Dardmand, who was arrested by Saudi forces in the holy city of Mecca in July.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The kingdom then pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, especially during the administration of Donald Trump, with whom the Saudi rulers shared close ties.

Saudi Arabia has recently shown willingness through diplomatic channels and third parties to mend fences with Tehran and resume bilateral relations.

The two neighbors also remain deeply divided over a set of regional issues, mainly the Saudi war on Yemen.



Resource: Press TV
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