Earlier, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price shot down reports surrounding the prisoner exchange, telling reporters that allegations of a “prisoner swap deal” with Iran “are not true.”
The White House reiterated on Tuesday that reports of the US reaching a prisoner exchange deal with Iran are unfounded, underscoring that a prisoner swap is not part of ongoing talks in Vienna.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki remarked during a briefing that “reports over the weekend that an agreement had been reached to exchange prisoners was not true.”
The press secretary further stressed that the topic has not been raised as part of ongoing talks in Vienna, which are meant to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and bring both the US and Iran back into compliance with the nuclear deal’s stipulations.
The source cited by the outlet also indicated that a deal between the UK and Iran had been finalized, and that it would effectively see the release of British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in exchange for the UK paying off a £400 million debt to Iran. The debt dates back to the 1970s, when the UK failed to deliver tanks that Iran had bought at the time.
FILE PHOTO: Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is seen in an undated photograph handed out by her family
Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016 on spying charges. However, after finishing a five-year sentence, she was recently given an extra year behind bars after being found guilty of propaganda against the Iranian state.
Both Price and Ron Klain, who serves as the White House chief of staff, rejected the reports on Sunday. Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesperson for the Iranian foreign minister’s office, also denied the report.
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