Iranian Foreign Ministry Rejects Imminent US Hostage Exchange | Nuclear Energy News
Conflicting statements may be the latest example of clashes between political factions in the run-up to presidential elections in Iran.
Tehran, Iran – Iran’s Foreign Ministry has said that a state television report on prisoner exchanges with the United States cannot be confirmed as the political divide widens ahead of the presidential elections in June.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday that the report could not be confirmed and that the issue of the prisoner exchange was under consideration by both sides.
The state broadcaster quoted an anonymous official on Sunday as saying that four Iranian prisoners held in the United States for circumvention of sanctions would be exchanged for four American binationals in Iran, and $ 7 billion in frozen Iranian funds would be released.
Khatibzadeh added that Iran continues to respond to its demand to unfreeze all its assets which are stranded in several countries due to unilateral US sanctions.
The state television report also said Anglo-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be freed when Britain repays a decades-old debt of £ 400million ($ 553million) she owed. in Tehran.
The US State Department and the UK Foreign Office dismissed the state television report on Sunday.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who recently served a five-year sentence for espionage, received another one-year sentence and was put on the no-fly list last week for spreading “propaganda against the system” for participating in a demonstration outside the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday he believed Zaghari-Ratcliffe was being held “unlawfully” and that her treatment amounted to “torture”.
The spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday that no legal negotiations were underway between foreign ministries over dual nationality, and that comment on the case would be left to justice.
Iran does not formally recognize dual nationality and rejects accusations that it engages in hostage-taking for political ends, claiming that its judicial system is independent.
The latest extremist-controlled state television report comes as numerous other reports citing anonymous “informed sources” have aired in recent weeks as Iran and world powers continue talks in Vienna to restore the deal nuclear power in the country in 2015, 2018.
Reports were so contradictory with the official Foreign Ministry line that at the end of April Iranian chief negotiator Abbas Araghchi directly criticized the public broadcaster’s English-language channel in a tweet.
“I don’t know who the ‘informed source’ of Press TV in Vienna is, but he / she is certainly not ‘informed’,” he wrote.
The administration of moderate President Hassan Rouhani has been constantly under fire from criticism from extremists who are increasingly emboldened by the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the imposition of severe sanctions against Iran.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly rebuked Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for his comments on the country’s internal power struggles in a confidential audio recording leaked last week on Sunday.
After the speech by the Supreme Leader, in which he said the Foreign Ministry was an executor and not a foreign policy designer, Zarif apologized for his comments which he said disturbed the peace of mind of Khamenei.