Iran’s foreign minister says any potential prisoner exchange process should not be tied to the ongoing talks in Vienna that are looking into the likelihood of removal of the US’s oppressive sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“Iran considers the issue of the prisoners to be [an issue that lies] in the humanitarian category. We are not inclined for this issue to be tied to the nuclear talks,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday.
The top diplomat made the remarks during a telephone conversation with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Amir-Abdollahian rated as “positive” talks between Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri-Kani and the European Union’s deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora, who was paying a visit to Tehran to discuss, among other things, the future of the Vienna talks.
Baqeri-Kani and Mora would keep up their negotiations in Brussels the next week, the foreign minister said, and noted that Iran welcomed whatever talks that would bring along tangible results for the Islamic Republic.
In 2018, the United States left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a historic nuclear accord that had been clinched between the Islamic Republic and world countries three years earlier.
Upon leaving the deal, the US also returned the inhumane sanctions that the agreement had lifted.
Washington’s allies in the accord—the UK, France, and Germany—have bowed under the US’s pressure, toeing the sanction line closely.
So far this year, six rounds of negotiations have taken place in the Austrian capital to examine the prospect of the sanctions’ removal. The talks are expected to pick up where they left last time, on Thursday.
Amir-Abdollahian underscored that should the Western allies live up to their JCPOA commitments, Iran too would reverse a set of nuclear countermeasures that it has been taking in retaliation for their refusal to meet their obligations.
He also extended an invitation to Guterres to pay a visit to the Islamic Republic.
The UN chief, for his part, noted how the world body has “constantly” supported the JCPOA, saying since former US president Donald Trump’s departure from the deal, the world body has been seeking a way to return the situation to how it used to be before Washington’s exit.