Iran is about to reach a breakthrough prisoners swap dead with the US and the UK, the al-Mayadeen TV reported on May 2.
An unnamed Iranian source told the Beirut-based channel that Iran and the US may soon finalize a prisoner exchange deal that would see Tehran freeing four Americans who were charged with spying for their country.
In return, the US would release four Iranian who were charged with violating sanctions imposed on Tehran. The US may also un-freeze Iranian assets worth a total of $7 billion.
“The Biden administration wanted to avoid paying any sums of the frozen Iranian funds during the negotiations,” the source said. “The Iranian side insisted that a part of the founds should be freed.”
According to the source, Iran is a close to a very similar deal with the UK. Under the deal, Tehran would release Iranian-British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in 2016. From its side, the UK will pay a £400m debt over the non-delivery of tanks dating back to the 1970s.
The Iranian state TV confirmed that a prisoners swap deal with the US and the UK was reached. However, an official in the UK Foreign Ministry played down these claims.
Meanwhile, the US Department of State also denied that prisoners swap was reached with Iran. At the same time, the department confirmed that work is underway to free Americans held by Tehran.
A day earlier, Abbass Araghchi, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, revealed that the US had agreed to lift some sanctions in order to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
Despite caution from both sides, it is clear that the US and Iran are close to a breakthrough deal on several issues. The finalization of the deal may take some time, however. Israel may also act to sabotage any understanding between the two sides.
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