On Tuesday, an Iranian government spokesman said the US and Iran are engaged in negotiations on a prisoner swap and that Tehran is willing to release all American “political prisoners” as part of the exchange.
“Negotiations are underway on the exchange of prisoners between Iran and America, and we will issue more information if Iranian prisoners are released and the country’s interests are secured and the talks reach a conclusion,” spokesman Ali Rabiei said.
Rabiei said Tehran wants to secure the release of Iranians held in US jails and also held in other countries for violating US sanctions. “Because of its humanitarian aims, Iran is ready to exchange all American political prisoners in exchange for the release of all Iranian prisoners who have been detained around the world at the behest of America,” he said.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed on Tuesday that the two countries have been holding prisoner swap negotiations. He said the US and Iran have been holding “indirect but active” discussions on the matter.
Price added that Washington seeks to separate the prisoner swap talks from the negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal that have been ongoing in Vienna since April. The sixth round of JCPOA talks concluded on June 20th, and it’s not clear when the seventh will begin.
On Monday, Price said it is up to Iran when the next round of JCPOA talks will begin. The Biden administration still refuses to lift all Trump-era sanctions, so the two sides have to negotiate how much sanctions relief Tehran will receive, a major concession from the Iranian side since Washington is the party that violated the deal.