News   /   Politics

Iran calls on US to implement prisoner swap deal, free Iranian prisoners

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani

Iran has expressed its readiness for swift implementation of a prisoner swap deal with the US while urging Washington to free Iranians imprisoned in the US without tying the issue with irrelevant issues.

In a statement on Wednesday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani reaffirmed Tehran's commitment and determination to implement the deal concerning the issue of prisoners, calling on the US to fulfill its commitments than "performing theatrical shows".

“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,” the spokesman asserted, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He urged the US to release jailed Iranian citizens without any preconditions.

“We are ready to enable emancipation and expeditious return of the innocent 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,” Kan’ani added.

The agreement was reached in Vienna on the sidelines of negotiations concerning the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Tehran has repeatedly said it is ready for a prisoner exchange with the United States based on the agreement and independently of the nuclear deal, which the US unilaterally abandoned in May 2018 despite Iran's full and strict compliance. 

Kan’ani's remarks came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Washington’s point man on Iran, Robert Malley, respectively accused Iran of “wrongful” detention of Americans and holding them ransom to “political leverage.”

Reacting to the hostile rhetoric, Kan’ani blasted the US for performing “theatrical skits” against Iran instead taking practical measures in eliminating the obstacles that lie in the path of a prisoner swap between the two countries.

"It is surprising that the US, instead of acting and removing the obstacles in this field, is only performing theatrical skits against Iran," he remarked.

This is not the first time that the Islamic Republic has slammed the US for disregarding the prisoner exchange agreement.

Iran has repeatedly urged Washington to release Iranian nationals who have been taken hostage on baseless charges of bypassing US sanctions, decrying the US for tying the humanitarian issue with the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Last July, then foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh reprimanded Washington for “denying simple fact that there is an agreed deal on the matter of the Iranian detainees.”

It comes amid efforts by Iran and the European Union to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and to lift unjust, crippling sanctions imposed on Iran by the US.

The US, under former President Donald Trump, left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. It also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign.

In April last year, envoys from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany —  started talks in Vienna on the revival of the deal and removal of anti-Tehran sanctions.

Earlier this month, the European Union tabled a text during the last round of talks in Vienna, to which Iran presented its observations on Monday night. The EU says it is "studying" Iran's response at present. 

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku