Tehran to Drop Prisoner Swap Plans With U.S., Iranian Official Says

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An Iranian woman walks past a mural on the outer walls of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran last year.
An Iranian woman walks past a mural on the outer walls of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran last year.Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP

Iran is dropping plans for prisoner swaps with the United States due to "breaches" by Washington in efforts to free the detainees, an unnamed Iranian official told the semi-official Nour News agency on Tuesday.

Tehran and U.S. President Joe Biden's administration have been communicating on prisoner exchanges aimed at securing the release of Iranians held in U.S. jails and other countries over violations of U.S. sanctions, and of Americans jailed in Iran.

"With the continuing Biden administration...breaches, there is no incentive on Iran's part to continue this process and therefore the exchanges issue in its current form will be completely removed from its agenda," the official told Nour News, which is close to Iran's top national security body.

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Last month, Iran said a prisoner swap deal had been agreed, though Washington had denied it.

Iran has arrested dozens of dual nationals, including several Iranian-Americans, in recent years, mostly on espionage charges. Rights activists accuse the country of trying to use the detentions to win concessions from other countries, though Tehran dismisses the charge.

Iran's hardline incoming president, Ebrahim Raisi, said on Tuesday that he would take steps to lift "tyrannical" sanctions imposed by the United States, after winning the formal endorsement of the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to take office later this week.

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