The Biden administration lashed out at Iran on Saturday for accusing it of delaying a proposed prisoner swap to force a quick resumption of indirect nuclear talks.
The State Department slammed as “outrageous” comments made by Iran’s deputy foreign minister who alleged the US and Britain were holding the swap “hostage” to the negotiations over salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
In a pair of tweets from his verified account, Seyyed Abbas Araghchi said the nuclear talks in Vienna could not resume until Iran’s hardline president-elect is inaugurated in early August. “We’re in a transition period as a democratic transfer of power is underway in our capital,” he said.
The nuclear talks “must thus obviously await our new administration. This is what every democracy demands,” Aragchi said. He added that the US and Britain “need to understand this and stop linking a humanitarian exchange — ready to be implemented — with the JCPOA.”
“Keeping such an exchange hostage to political aims achieves neither,” said Aragchi who is Iran’s chief negotiator at the Vienna talks. “TEN PRISONERS on all sides may be released TOMORROW if US&UK fulfill their part of deal.”
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