US denies Iran plans to release four Americans
A senior White House official on Sunday denied reports from Tehran that an agreement had been reached with Iran for the release of four Americans detained there.
“I can tell you, unfortunately, that this report is false,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told CBS ‘Face the Nation.
“There is no agreement to release these four Americans. We are working very hard to get them released. So far, there is no agreement to bring these four Americans home.”
Klain’s comments followed reports on Iranian state television citing “an informed source” that the US side had agreed to release $ 7 billion in frozen Iranian funds and release four Iranians accused of circumvention. sanctions in exchange for the release of four Americans accused of espionage.
State television also reported that Anglo-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, detained in the country since 2016, was released after “the payment of the military debt”.
But British officials played down the report, with the Foreign Office saying talks were “underway.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told AFP they “had not received any private indication that a deal had been reached.”
Klain was asked on CBS if Iranian officials could have leaked the reports to increase political pressure on the Biden administration for concessions.
“No,” he replied. “Once again, we are working hard to bring these Americans home. When we do that, we will obviously be happy to share this news.”
The dueling reports came a day after parties to the Iran nuclear deal postponed a third round of talks in Vienna aimed at bringing the United States back into the deal, and as Russian delegates expressed “optimism cautious and growing “for a solution.
The deal, which slows down Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, has been on life support since the withdrawal of US President Donald Trump in 2018.
The other partners of the 2015 agreement have been engaged in negotiations since the beginning of April to try to relaunch it.