Tehran expressed hope that it would agree to exchange prisoners, but the United States and Britain linked it to negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program.
Tehran, Iran Iran’s top nuclear negotiator accused the United States and the United Kingdom of saying in Iran that nuclear negotiations should be postponed until after their new government takes office to hold “hostage” exchange of prisoners.
The Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghci stated that Iran is preparing to hand over power to the incoming Ibrahim Raisi government in early August, and as a result, several months of talks have been held in Vienna to restore the government. National 2015 Nuclear Agreement We must wait with the world powers.
“The U.S. and the U.K. need to understand this and stop linking the humanitarian exchanges to be implemented with JCPOA,” he tweeted on Saturday, using the official name of the landmark agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan.
He said: “Take this exchange as a hostage for political charity, and neither will be realized,” he added, adding that if the other parties do their part, 10 prisoners from all parties can be released tomorrow.
The U.S. or U.K. government did not immediately comment.
For months, Iran and the United States have admitted that they are in indirect talks — with the assistance of Switzerland — to complete an agreement to exchange prisoners. Both parties said last week that the negotiations have made progress.
The two countries have exchanged prisoners twice in the past, once in January 2016 when the nuclear agreement was implemented, and once in December 2019.
As with the nuclear negotiations, it now appears that the prisoner exchange has also been postponed until after the ultra-conservative Reisi took office.
Although diplomats initially expressed the hope that JCPOA Can be restored On the sixth anniversary of the signing on July 14, a report written to the parliament by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif last week confirmed that Raisi is expected to “complete” the process that began in May.
Zarif said that if an agreement is reached in Vienna, most of the sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran since 2018 — when it unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA — will be lifted. However, measures taken by Iran to advance its nuclear program, including enriching uranium to more than 60% and producing metallic uranium, also complicate negotiations.
The Vienna talks may continue in the second half of August, but it remains to be seen how the political divisions in Tehran evolve before then. In addition to influencing the timetable, Raisi’s team has had a direct impact on the progress of the talks, as he has appointed two members to the newly formed “Adaptation Committee” whose task is to review progress.
These members are security official Ali Husseini-Tash and former nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, both of whom are considered potential candidates to succeed the veteran diplomat Zarif as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
According to reports, the committee is also composed of Aragchi; Ali Shamhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran; Ali Salish, head of the Iran Atomic Energy Organization; and two legislators.