Iran on Wednesday said that it is prepared for an unconditional prisoner swap with the US and said they were ready to work on the issue regardless of the status of the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“The Islamic Republic has, through various channels, repeatedly announced its readiness to the American side to address the issue of the prisoners regardless of the JCPOA,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani, according to Iran’s PressTV.
Iran’s offer came a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that 50-year-old Iranian-American Siamak Namazi has been in prison in Iran for 2,500 days. Several other US citizens are detained in Iran, and Tehran seeks the release of over a dozen Iranians that have been arrested in the US.
Many Iranians jailed in the US have been arrested over allegations that they violated sanctions. Kanaani said that Iran wants to help free Iranians who have “fallen victim to the injustice [practiced] by the US’s legal establishment based on the hollow accusation of [them] violating the oppressive and illegal American sanctions.”
The calls for a prisoner swap come as the US is reviewing Iran’s response to an EU proposal to revive the JCPOA. The US and Iran typically said that prisoner swaps are a separate issue from the nuclear deal, but earlier this year, Robert Malley, the US special envoy for Iran, said that an agreement on the JCPOA is unlikely without a prisoner exchange.
In May, families of Americans detained in Iran sent a letter to President Biden urging him to secure their release. They said that if reviving the JCPOA was a prerequisite, the Biden administration should get the deal done.