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Issue of US Citizens Held in Iran Could Hold Back Nuclear Deal, Envoy Says
Robert Malley, US special envoy for Iran, left, meets with Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in at IAEA headquarters in Viena on December 2, 2021. (Dean Calma / IAEA)

Issue of US Citizens Held in Iran Could Hold Back Nuclear Deal, Envoy Says

While the United States’ position on nuclear negotiations with Iran is that the issue of four dual citizens being held in Iran is a separate issue, US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley over the weekend linked them in an interview with Reuters, setting their release as an apparent precondition for the nuclear deal being negotiated in Vienna.

“They’re separate and we’re pursuing both of them. But I will say it is very hard for us to imagine getting back into the nuclear deal while four innocent Americans are being held hostage by Iran,” Malley told Reuters.

He said that in addition to the indirect negotiations that the US is conducting with Iran over the nuclear agreement, the US is holding indirect negotiations over the release of “our hostages.” Malley added that the US would “welcome” direct negotiations.

The four US citizens being held are Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, 50, and his father Baquer, 85, environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 66, who is also British, and businessman Emad Shargi, 57. The are not the only dual nationals or foreigners being held by Iran.

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