Washington has denied Iran’s state media report that the US reached a prisoner swap deal in exchange for the release of $7 billion frozen Iranian oil funds.
In a televised broadcast on Sunday, Iran state television, according to findings from an unknown source, claimed that Tehran agreed with the US to free four American prisoners accused of spying in exchange for four Iranians held in the United States and the release of $7 billion in frozen Iranian funds.
“Informed source says Biden administration has agreed to release four Iranian prisoners jailed for bypassing U.S. sanctions in exchange for four American ‘spies’,” the Iranian state TV report said on Sunday.
“Release of Nazanin Zaghari in exchange for UK’s payment of its 400 million pound debt to Iran has also been finalized. The source also said the Biden administration has agreed to pay Iran $7 billion,” the report said.
It also made mention of the case of Britsih-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. According to the report, Zaghari-Ratcliffe is supposedly expected to be released once Britain had paid off a debt on military equipment owed to Tehran.
But in a swift response, the US rejected the claims, saying the reports are untrue.
State Department spokesman, Ned Price who made the rebuttal same Sunday, said the “reports that a prisoner swap deal has been reached are not true” but added that the US will not stop until the American prisoners are able to reunite them with their families.”
“As we have said, we always raise. We cases of Americans detained or missing in Iran.”
The White House chief of staff, Ron Klain also denied the report.
“Unfortunately, that report is untrue. There is no agreement to release these four Americans,” he said while speaking to CBS.
In the same vein, British Foreign Office official downplayed the report.
The Foreign Office said that the country continues “to explore options to resolve this 40-year old case and we will not comment further as legal discussions are ongoing.’’
Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, also disclosed that she wasn’t aware of such a deal.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was initially sentenced to five years in prison sentence in the Islamic Republic for plotting to overthrow Iran’s government.
But last week, another sentence of one year was added on charges for spreading “propaganda against the system” during a 2009 protest held in front of the Iranian Embassy in London.
This conflicting report amid ongoing efforts of both countries to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. They have been meeting in Vienna along with other nations of the pact since April.