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Iran Press TV

It's now up to Washington to implement agreement on prisoner swap with Iran: FM spokesman

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 18 September 2022 7:48 AM

The spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry has said that Tehran is ready to implement the agreement on the exchange of prisoners with Washington and it is now “up to the US administration” to decide whether or not it wants to keep its end of the deal.

“We have already voiced our readiness to exchange inmates with the US, and we are still ready to do so. Negotiations have been conducted in different ways over the matter, and parties have reached the necessary agreements. It is now up to the US administration to decide whether it wants to implement this agreement or not. We are prepared to enforce it,” Nasser Kan'ani told ISNA in an interview published on Sunday.

The agreement was reached in Vienna on the sidelines of negotiations concerning the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with world powers.

Tehran has repeatedly said it is ready for prisoner exchange with the United States based on the agreement and independently of the nuclear deal, which the US unilaterally abandoned in May 2018 despite Iran's full and strict compliance.

'Iran never sacrifices political independence for bilateral ties'

Kan'ani also underlined that the Islamic Republic will never sacrifice its own political independence for the sake of certain diplomatic relations, roundly dismissing allegations that Russia is obstructing the Vienna talks on the JCPOA revival and removal of sanctions against Tehran.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not sacrifice its political independence for the sake of [diplomatic] relations with any other countries. The same approach is also being exercised throughout the sanctions removal talks. Russia is a signatory to the JCPOA, and has naturally participated in the negotiation process and made comments,” he said.

At some point during efforts to reach an agreement on salvaging the JCPOA, there were claims that Russia was stonewalling the process and blocking the accord. Both Iran and Russia denied such allegations.

Kan'ani also rejected claims that Russia has asked Iran to delay the agreement until a later time in winter.The senior Iranian diplomat went on to dismiss allegations that Russia is obstructing the talks in the Austrian capital, stressing that it is the US side that must take on its responsibility, and contribute to the conclusion of the accord.

“The fact that [the United States of] America occasionally tends to level allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia is simply a blame game,” Kan'ani said.

'Russia, China facilitating Vienna negotiations'

The spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry also stressed that Russia and China have facilitated and are assisting the advancement of Vienna talks, emphasizing that the official positions of Moscow and Beijing are completely in support of JCPOA revival negotiations and Tehran's stance.

“The US government is a party that has left the negotiations, and is now inventing excuses and obstructing the conclusion of the final agreement. It is worth mentioning that the political independence of the Islamic Republic of Iran is so important that it will not be influenced by the political view of any other country,” Kan'ani said.

The United States, under former president Donald Trump, abandoned the agreement in May 2018 and reinstated unilateral sanctions that the agreement had lifted.

The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital city of Vienna in April last year, months after Joe Biden succeeded Trump, with the intention of examining Washington's seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.

Despite notable progress, the US indecisiveness and procrastination caused multiple interruptions in the marathon talks.

Riyadh should take serious action on release of Iranian pilgrim

The top Iranian diplomat also called on Saudi Arabia to adopt serious measures on humanitarian grounds and release Iranian national Khalil Dardmand, who was arrested by Saudi forces in the holy city of Mecca in July.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The kingdom then pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, especially during the administration of former US president Donald Trump, with whom the Saudi rulers shared close ties.

Saudi Arabia has recently shown willingness through diplomatic channels and third parties to mend fences with Tehran and resume bilateral relations.

The two neighbors also remain deeply divided over a set of regional issues, mainly the Saudi war on Yemen.

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