March 4, 2021

Persian News

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No direct talks with US over prisoners: Iran Foreign Ministry

The spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry has dismissed a claim by a US official that Tehran and Washington have begun direct talks over American prisoners in Iran and vice versa.

Speaking in a televised interview on Sunday, Saeed Khatibzadeh said there were a number of Iranian prisoners in the United States who have been detained on false charges without going through due process, and securing their freedom had been always a priority for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The spokesman, however, denied any direct contacts with the United States over the situation of prisoners under the new US administration, noting that some messages regarding this issue have been exchanged with American officials via the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which serves as the US interests section, or foreign ministers of other countries.

He once again categorically denied any direct talks with the administration of President Joe Biden over Iranian prisoners in the US or American prisoners in Iran.

The White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, has said Washington has begun communication with Tehran over the detention of American citizens.

Speaking with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Sullivan said it was a significant priority of the Biden administration to get the detained Americans “safely back home.”

He said that the Biden administration would not accept a long-term proposition where “they continue to hold Americans in an unjust and unlawful manner.”

“We have begun to communicate with the Iranians on this issue,” Sullivan said when asked if the administration had started “hostage negotiations” with Iran.

An Iranian official has also denied Sullivan’s claim, saying the Iranian government has not entered any direct talks with the US government regarding the issue.

Nour News quoted the unnamed official as saying that the alleged individuals are “prisoners who have been detained in accordance with the law and have enjoyed legal rights at all stages.”

The informed source also dismissed the use of the term “hostage” for American prisoners as a distortion of words.

The Islamic Republic has denied allegations that it detains certain Western citizens as what Western officials and media outlets claim to be “hostages.”

The Iranian administration has repeatedly said the country’s Judiciary is an independent entity, rejecting as unacceptable any foreign meddling in the issuance of sentences by Iranian judges.

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