US froze prisoner exchange: Araghchi to Raab

TEHRAN, Aug. 14 (MNA) – Addressing the British Foreign Secretary, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister said that Rabb knows better than anybody else that the deal for release of 10 prisoners was concluded weeks ago but his friends in Washington froze it.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi in a tweet on late Friday wrote, "Sec @dominicraab, You know better than anybody else that deal for release of 10 prisoners-incl Anoosheh Ashoori-was concluded weeks ago but your friends in DC froze it."

"Ashoori and 9 more are taken hostage by US for political goals. Hope you'll explain this to your own people," he added.

His tweet came as the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in a tweet called for the release of Ashoori and other dual-national prisoners.

"On the 4th anniversary of Anoosheh Ashoori’s detention, I call on Iran in the strongest possible terms to free Anoosheh, and all our dual nationals arbitrarily detained, so they can be reunited with their families. Their ongoing detention is totally unjustified," Raab claimed.

Stating that Iran is in a transition period as a democratic transfer of power and Vienna talks must thus obviously await Iran's new administration, Araghchi previously said, "US & UK need to understand this and stop linking a humanitarian exchange—ready to be implemented—with the JCPOA."

"Keeping such an exchange hostage to political aims achieves neither", the senior diplomat said and added, "TEN PRISONERS on all sides may be released TOMORROW if US&UK fulfill their part of the deal."

In reaction to Araghchi's remarks, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the US is ready to return to Vienna to resume bilateral return talks to the JCPOA. He considered the exchange of prisoners to be dependent on the JCPOA negotiations.

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