The Biden administration will give Iran $7 billion as part of a deal to free prisoners held by Iran, according to Iranian State TV.
Not so, replied the Biden administration, which is in talks with Iran to revive the nuclear deal reached by former President Barack Obama with Iran.
“The Americans accepted to pay $7 billion and swap four Iranians who were active in bypassing sanctions for four American spies who have served part of their sentences,” Iranian state TV said, quoting an official it did not name, according to The Associated Press.
Iranian state TV said a British prisoner would also be freed as part of another deal.
“Release of Nazanin Zaghari in exchange for UK’s payment of its 400 million pound debt to Iran has also been finalized. The source also said the Biden administration has agreed to pay Iran $7 billion,” it said, according to Reuters.
Two members of the Biden administration said the report was wrong.
“Reports that a prisoner swap deal has been reached are not true,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said, according to the AP.
“As we have said, we always raise the cases of Americans detained or missing in Iran. We will not stop until we are able to reunite them with their families.”
Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, also said the account was incorrect.
“Unfortunately, that report is untrue. There is no agreement to release these four Americans,” Klain said.
— Gary Weiss (@gary_weiss) May 2, 2021
In 2016, the Obama administration gave Iran $400 million in cash, which was loaded onto pallets and flown to Iran. The administration defended the payments by saying the money was owed to Iran as part of a 1979 agreement.
However, the cash shipment came at the same time Iran freed four Americans it held.
The Obama administration denied that it had sent the cash in exchange for the release of the prisoners.
Iran has claimed that it is owed up to $20 billion that was frozen in countries around the world as part of sanctions against Iran put in place by the Trump administration, according to Reuters.
Iran is currently seeking to have those sanctions removed amid the Biden administration’s courting of Iran to restore the nuclear deal former President Donald Trump voided while in office.
Iran holds four Americans: Father and son Baquer and Siamak Namaz0 (the son a businessman, according to CBS News, the father a former member of the deposed shah’s regime); environmentalist Morad Tahbaz and Iranian-American businessman Emad Shargi.
British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is also held, according to Reuters. She was charged with plotting to overthrow Iran’s government,
After serving five years in prison following her 2016 arrest during a visit to Iran, she was recently given an extra year in prison for her role in a 2009 protest in London, Reuters reported.
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