Iran insists it is doing a prisoner swap with the US in spite of the Biden administration’s categoric denials of the Iranian claims.
The Iranian foreign ministry says the "written agreement has been signed by the official representative of the United States” though has failed to specify who.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani told a weekly press conference on Monday that “a written agreement regarding the exchange of prisoners was signed through an intermediary” in March 2022.
However, in what can be seen as a back peddling, he claimed that the deal "has not been implemented by the US government so far for various reasons”, suggesting the announcement was perhaps premature.
"In recent weeks, there has been an exchange of indirect messages to update the deal," he added.
Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told state TV Sunday: “Regarding the exchange of current prisoners between Iran and the US, we have reached an agreement within the past few days. If everything goes well on the American side, I think we will witness a prisoner exchange in the near future. We see this as an entirely humanitarian case.”
A White House official immediately denied Amir-Abdollahian's statement calling it “a cruel lie”, but reiterated that the United States is committed to securing the release of Americans held in Iran.
Several Iranian-American citizens, including Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharqi, and Murad Tahbaz, are still imprisoned in Iran. In exchange for the release of the hostages, in addition to demanding money, the Islamic Republic plans to urge Washington to release the Iranians imprisoned in the US for circumventing sanctions or their involvement in terror activities.