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US hits Iran for delay in nuclear and prisoner swap talks

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration lashed out at Iran on Saturday for accusing it of delaying a proposed prisoner swap to pressure a fast resumption of oblique nuclear talks.

The State Division slammed as “outrageous” feedback made by Iran’s deputy international minister who alleged the U.S. and Britain have been holding the swap “hostage” to the negotiations over salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, generally known as the Joint Complete Plan of Motion or JCPOA.

In a pair of tweets from his verified account, Abbas Aragchi mentioned the nuclear talks in Vienna couldn’t resume till Iran’s hardline president-elect is inaugurated in early August. “We’re in a transition interval as a democratic switch of energy is underway in our capital,” he mentioned.

The nuclear talks “should thus clearly await our new administration. That is what each democracy calls for,” Aragchi mentioned. He added that the U.S. and Britain “want to grasp this and cease linking a humanitarian alternate — able to be applied — with the JCPOA.”

“Preserving such an alternate hostage to political goals achieves neither,” mentioned Aragchi who’s Iran’s chief negotiator on the Vienna talks. “TEN PRISONERS on all sides could also be launched TOMORROW if US&UK fulfill their a part of deal.”

A sixth spherical of nuclear talks ended final month with out settlement forward of Iran’s presidential election received by Ebrahim Raisi. The U.S. has repeatedly mentioned it’s prepared for a seventh spherical as quickly as Iran is prepared whereas additionally calling for the quick launch of Americans detained in Iran.

In response to Aragchi’s remarks, State Division spokesman Ned Worth categorically rejected the declare, denied there was already an settlement on a swap, and mentioned the U.S. was ready to proceed talks on prisoners even whereas ready for the resumption of the nuclear negotiations.

“These feedback are an outrageous effort to deflect blame for the present deadlock on a possible mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA,” Worth mentioned. “We stand able to return to Vienna to finish work on a mutual return to the JCPOA as soon as Iran has made the mandatory choices.”

Worth known as Aragchi’s reference to the attainable imminent launch of 10 prisoners on all sides “simply one other merciless effort to boost the hopes of their households.” “If Iran have been actually interested by making a humanitarian gesture, it will merely launch the detainees instantly,” he mentioned.

Worth didn’t deal with Aragchi’s declare that Iran is within the midst of a “democratic switch of energy” however he did decry his reference to the U.S. and Britain holding the prisoner alternate “hostage.” He mentioned it’s the Iranian authorities ”that has been unjustly detaining 4 harmless People for years.”

Worth mentioned oblique talks on the detainees had been progressing within the context of the Vienna nuclear negotiations and the “delay in restarting that course of isn’t serving to.”

However, whereas he mentioned the U.S. believed the prisoner talks could be simpler in that context, he added that “we’re additionally ready to proceed with talks on detainees throughout” the present hiatus.

The Biden administration has been attempting to reverse former President Donald Trump’s 2018 withdrawal from the nuclear deal and has supplied sanctions aid in alternate for Iran returning to full compliance with its obligations.

Because the Trump administration stepped up its “most strain” marketing campaign towards Iran by re-imposing sanctions that had lifted beneath the preliminary deal, Iran stepped up its violations of the settlement by working superior centrifuges and rising uranium enrichment and heavy water manufacturing. It has additionally refused to reply questions from the UN’s atomic watchdog about potential violations of different nuclear commitments.

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