Washington rejects reports of US-Iranian prisoner swap
May 2, 2021
The US has said reports of a prisoner swap with Iran "are not true." Iranian state media reported that Tehran had struck deals with British and American officials to release prisoners and unfreeze funds.
The United States has swiftly denied reports about a prisoner swap agreement with Iran, after Iranian state media and a pro-Iranian Lebanese TV channel reported on the alleged deals.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the reports "are not true."
White House chief of staff Ron Klain, also told US media that "there is no agreement" for a prisoner swap.
Iran's UN envoy later also said the reports were not confirmed.
"The news of the agreement for the release of American prisoners [in Iran] is not confirmed," Majid Takht Ravanchi was quoted as saying by the Young Journalists' Club, which is affiliated with state media.
In the recordings, Zarif voiced criticism of slain Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike at the beginning of 2020.
Zarif has since apologized for the comments, which come less than two months before Iran holds a presidential election. The minister had been seen as a potential candidate in the June 18 vote.
The reported deals with the US and UK come amid ongoing negotiations in Vienna on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. While diplomats said on Saturday that progress has been made, more time is needed to set a future agreement.