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Iran Accuses US, UK of Holding Prisoner Swap Hostage to Nuclear Talks
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and top nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi arrives at the venue of a meeting of the Joint Commission on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -JCPOA in Vienna, Austria, on June 2, 2021. (Guo Chen/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Iran Accuses US, UK of Holding Prisoner Swap Hostage to Nuclear Talks

Iran called on the United States and the United Kingdom to stop holding a prisoner swap hostage to the continuation of the Vienna nuclear negotiations.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, said in a tweet that a seventh round of talks in Vienna would have to wait until President-elect Ebrahim Raisi talks over next month, but said that the prisoner exchange could take place soon if it is not linked to the talks.

Iran is holding several dual Iranian-American citizens against their will, many of them human rights activists.

“We’re in a transition period as a democratic transfer of power is under way in our capital. Vienna talks must thus obviously await our new administration,” “US and UK need to understand this and stop linking a humanitarian exchange – ready to be implemented – with the JCPOA,” or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Keeping such an exchange hostage to political alms achieves neither,” he also tweeted.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said of the tweets:  “These comments are an outrageous effort to deflect blame for the current impasse.”

“We stand ready to return to Vienna to complete work on a mutual return to the JCPOA once Iran has made the necessary decisions,” Price also said. The US left the deal between Iran and world powers in 2018. Iran has since consistently been violating its terms.

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