US, Iran Near Deal to Swap Prisoners

Iran expects 5-6 prisoners would be released soon

Progress in the Iran talks keeps being made, and now it’s not just the nuclear deal that seems imminent. A US-Iran prisoner exchange which only came up in the past weeks is expected to happen.

The way this came up was rather roundabout, as with the Vienna talks progressing, US officials suggested Iran should throw in four American prisoners they are holding. On Saturday, Iran FM Hossein Amir Abdollahian confirmed Iran was always ready fort an exchange deal, noting that the US is holding a number of Iranians as well.

The expectation is that a prisoner deal could be announced soon. Exact details aren’t clear, but the Iranians reportedly expect five or six prisoners out of the swap. The US only ever mentioned four people they wanted, but indications are that some prisoners with multiple nationalities could be included.

Most of the Iranians held by the US are held on sanctions-related charges. With sanctions relief coming in a nuclear deal, holding many of them may not make so much sense.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of