Washington and Tehran are in indirect talks to achieve a prospective prisoner swap. Qatar and the United Kingdom serve as mediators according to western media reports citing four anonymous sources.
The discussions have largely succeeded, the US news site said on Wednesday, but it’s still not clear how quickly a deal can be achieved.
As part of the potential agreement, Tehran would release American captives held in its hands. NBC sources claim that the US will also let the return of Iranian cash worth billions of dollars that South Korea has frozen as a result of US restrictions.
According to the sources, the funds would only be used for purchasing food, medication, and other necessities for the less privileged. The media outlet further said that the handover of the funds may be overseen by a third nation, presumably Qatar.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, declined to speak on the story when asked to do so, saying that negotiations with friends and partners were “sensitive” and. He further explained that he was unable to delve into the intricacies of any proceedings that were potentially ongoing.
“What is not sensitive and what I repeat just about every time the question is posed, is that we’ve been unambiguous with the Iranian regime about the priority we attach to seeing the safe and prompt returns of the three Americans that are currently wrongfully held in Iran.”
Washington and Tehran; Close but Far
The claim comes amid failed efforts to resurrect the multilateral nuclear agreement from 2015. The original deal called for the Iranian side to curtail its nuclear development in return for the lifting of international economic sanctions.
The pact had been scrapped by former American President Donald Trump three years later. But Joe Biden, who took office after him, has stated he plans to reinstate it. Over the past two years, there have been many rounds of indirect negotiations that have failed to revive the accord since 2020.
Anti-government demonstrations in Iran and America’s accusations that Tehran provided Russia with drones to deploy in Ukraine war have further strained ties between the two sides.
Price restated on Wednesday the State Department’s stance that Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, and Morad Tahbaz are being held unlawfully in Iran. Three US nationals are now being held in prison in Iran.
An Iranian-American businessman, Namazi has hit the lines this month. He has been imprisoned since 2015 on suspicion of collaborating with a hostile administration.
A National Security Council official stated last month that Washington is working relentlessly to get Namazi home along with any US nationals who are incarcerated in Tehran. Washington’s push has further instigated Tehran’s suspicions about the convict’s missions.
Washington maintains its pledge that it would not permit Tehran to get a nuclear bomb, notwithstanding Tehran’s denials, despite its attempts to free the captives.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that he explored the possibility of deepening collaboration to fight and contain Iran’s destabilizing conduct in the area with Israeli authorities during a tour to Israel on January. The fresh negotiations suggest a disparity between the US policies as they announce and what their practical implementations of policies.
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