Report: US and Iran in Indirect Talks on Prisoner Swap

    Report: US and Iran in Indirect Talks on Prisoner Swap
    Last updated Feb 16, 2023
    Image credit: Uk.Yahoo


    • An NBC report published on Wednesday claimed that the US is holding indirect negotiations with Iran over a possible prisoner swap to secure the release of US citizens detained in the country.
    • The discussions with Qatar and the UK acting as mediators have reportedly progressed, but it remains uncertain if a final agreement can be achieved according to four unidentified sources reportedly familiar with the matter.
    • The potential agreement calls for the release of US citizens imprisoned in Iran in exchange for Washington unlocking billions in Iranian funds currently frozen in South Korea due to US sanctions.
    • Initially discussed in 2021, the scheme would allow Iran to access the funds only for purchasing food, medicine, or other humanitarian needs that are subject to existing US sanctions against the country.
    • According to the US Dept. of State, Washington is seeking the release of what it alleges are "wrongfully" detained US citizens, Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, and Morad Tahbaz, from Iranian custody.
    • As Washington continues to pursue the release of the detainees, tensions are rising between the US and Iran over the country's advancing nuclear program after efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal stalled.


    Pro-Iran narrative

    Tehran has already shown its goodwill by releasing a dual Iranian-American citizen a few months ago, but Washington has not yet responded in kind. Moreover, Western media is concealing the fact that Iranians are imprisoned in the US simply for violating illegal US sanctions against Tehran. It is up to the US, which already unilaterally terminated the nuclear deal, to bring the negotiations to a positive end.

    Anti-Iran narrative

    Along with the three detained Iranian Americans, Iran is using many other dual and foreign nationals as bargaining chips to force concessions. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters have been killed and about 20K arrested since the Mahsa Amini protests began. Washington must not allow itself to be blackmailed by the Tehran regime and should demand political concessions in return for the release of Iranian assets.

    Narrative C

    Before protests erupted in Iran, which brought talks to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement to a virtual standstill, the release of up to $9B in Iranian assets in South Korean banks was seen as a first step toward resuming talks to revive the deal. Releasing the money as part of a US-Iran swap could create new momentum.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 48% chance that Iran will possess a nuclear weapon before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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