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Tipsheet

Did the U.S. and Iran Reach an Agreement on a Prisoner Swap?

Kamran Jebreili

The U.S. and Iran have reached an agreement to exchange prisoners in the future, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. However, the U.S. said it was Tehran's "false" claim. 

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"Regarding the issue of prisoner swaps between Iran and the U.S., we have reached an agreement in recent days. If everything goes well on the U.S. side, I think we will witness a prisoner exchange in a short period," Amirabdollahian said. "On our part, everything is ready, while the U.S. is currently working on the final technical coordination."

The State Department rejected the official's claim, saying reports of an agreement were a "cruel lie." However, a White House official said that the United States was committed to securing the release of Americans held in Iran.

"Claims by Iranian officials that we have reached a deal for the release of the U.S. citizens wrongfully held by Iran are false," a White House National Security Council spokesperson said.

According to Reuters, talks of a prisoner exchange is "closer than it has ever been," but one of the remaining hold-ups is linked to $7 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds under U.S. sanctions in South Korea.

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"The logistics of how these funds will be exchanged and how oversight will be provided are unresolved," the source said.

In 2018, former President Trump ended a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six powers, reimposing sanctions that have wreaked havoc on the Islamic Republic's economy. President Joe Biden and Tehran have paused talks regarding the deal since September.

Several U.S. citizens are currently held in Iran, with many charged with spying and cooperating with the U.S. government. 

Tehran has sought to release more than a dozen Iranians in the U.S., including seven Iranian-American dual nationals, two Iranians with permanent U.S. residency, and four Iranian citizens without legal U.S. status. 

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