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Iran, U.S. Negotiating Potential Prisoner Swap in Tandem With Nuclear Deal

The 16 Iranian prisoners held in U.S. detention or on supervisor pretrial release consist of eight Iranian American dual nationals, four Iranian citizens with U.S. permanent residency and four Iranian citizens with no legal status in the U.S.
Iranian officials said on Monday that they're working with the United States to negotiate a potential prisoner exchange in tandem with a nuclear deal. Above, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh speaks to media during a press conference in Tehran on November 15, 2021. GETTY IMAGES/AFP
Iranian officials said on Monday that they’re working with the United States to negotiate a potential prisoner exchange in tandem with a nuclear deal. Above, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh speaks to media during a press conference in Tehran on November 15, 2021. GETTY IMAGES/AFP

Iranian officials said on Monday that they’re working with the United States to negotiate a potential prisoner exchange in tandem with a nuclear deal.

The U.S. Justice Department said 16 Iranians are in U.S. facilities, while four Iranian American dual nationals are being held in Iran.

“These negotiations have progressed significantly and we are waiting for them to be summed up,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a news conference on Monday, according to Radio Free Europe.

The prisoner negotiations are happening in parallel with the nuclear talks in Vienna. The U.S. had not made a decision regarding the prisoners but Khatibzadeh said it might be because they’re waiting on the results of the nuclear negotiations, according to Reuters.

“Now I believe some of them will be released, maybe five or six of them. But those talks about prisoners are not linked to the nuclear agreement, rather associated with it. This is a humanitarian measure by Iran,” an Iranian official told Reuters.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Iran was ready for an immediate prisoner swap. However, U.S. negotiator Robert Malley said that unless Tehran frees four U.S. citizens Washington said it is holding hostage, it’s unlikely they will reach an agreement.

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