US: No Deal With Iran to Swap Prisoners

State media issued report that US says 'unfortunately' isn't true
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2021 12:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Iran said through state media Sunday that the US has agreed to a deal in which prisoners would be freed in exchange for the release of $7 billion in its frozen assets. The US immediately said there's no such agreement. The reports "are not true," said State Department spokesman Ned Price, the Hill reports. "Unfortunately, that report is untrue," White House chief of staff Ron Klain said CBS' Face the Nation, adding that the US has been seeking the prisoners' freedom. "We raise this with Iran and our interlocutors all the time," Klain said. The state TV report had said the Biden administration had agreed to release four Iranian prisoners being held in the US in exchange for four American 'spies,'" per Reuters.

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The report also said Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian national, would be freed once Britain had paid what it owes Iran for military equipment. "We recognize the IMS debt should be repaid, and we're looking at arrangements for securing that," Britain's foreign minister, Dominic Raab, said Sunday. She's jailed after being convicted in Iran of trying to overthrow the government, a charge her family and employer deny. Zaghari-Ratcliffe served five years for the conviction before a court added another year last week. Britain has called that inhumane. "I think she's been treated in the most abusive, tortuous way," Raab said. (Read more Iran stories.)

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