US Denies Iran’s Claim of Prisoner Swap Deal

Iran accuses US of holding the talks hostage

On the sidelines of the JCPOA talks, Iran, the United States, and Britain have been talking about a substantial prisoner swap. Iranian officials are reporting that it has made a lot of progress, reporting on Saturday that they and the US had agreed to the deal, and that an announcement was coming as soon as today, involving the release of 10 prisoners.

That all sounded great, but the US quickly issued a statement of denial, claiming that no deal had been reached. Both Iran and the US referred to one another’s claims as “outrageous,” and apparently no deal is happening soon.

At this point, Iran is accusing the US of holding the prisoner exchange hostage, and trying to tie its success to the ongoing JCPOA talks. Iran says the two sets of talks are meant to be kept separate from one another.

For their part, the US is accusing Iran of trying to cover up for not making a nuclear deal yet by drawing attention to the prisoner exchange. The US offered no indication on how they think the exchange is going, saying only that no deal was reached.

It’s hard to see how the US and Iran could be so far apart on their views of what’s happening, especially with Iran suggesting small details like the specifics of the upcoming announcement were agreed upon. Something certain gave them the impression of an imminent deal.

It is less surprising to see the US trying to attach the JCPOA and prisoner swap talks. This has long been a tactic to keep deals from happening by suggesting a grand bargain is still being sought.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.