Nuclear deal unlikely unless Iran frees US prisoners: Report | Nuclear Power News
The United States is unlikely to strike a deal with Iran to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal unless Tehran frees four American citizens Washington says it is holding hostage, the nuclear negotiator said on Sunday. chief American at the Reuters news agency.
US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley reiterated the long-standing US position that the issue of the four people detained in Iran is separate from the nuclear negotiations. He did, however, come a little closer to the claim that their release was a precondition for a nuclear deal.
“They are separated and we are pursuing them both. But I will say it’s very hard for us to imagine going back to the nuclear deal when four innocent Americans are being held hostage by Iran,” Malley told Reuters in an interview.
“So even as we are conducting talks with Iran indirectly on the nuclear file, we are, again indirectly, conducting discussions with them to secure the release of our hostages,” he said in Vienna, where talks are taking place on the rapprochement of Washington and Tehran. again in full compliance with the agreement.
In recent years, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners, mostly on espionage and security charges.
Rights groups have accused Iran of taking prisoners for diplomatic leverage, while Western powers have long demanded that Tehran release its citizens, whom they say are political prisoners.
Tehran denies detaining people for political reasons.
Malley was speaking in a joint interview with Barry Rosen, a 77-year-old former US diplomat who went on a hunger strike in Vienna to demand the release of American, British, French, German, Austrian and Swedish prisoners in Iran, and that no nuclear deal be concluded without their release.
Rosen was one of more than 50 American diplomats detained during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1981.
“I have spoken to a number of hostage families who are extremely grateful for what Mr Rosen is doing, but they are also imploring him to stop his hunger strike, like me, because the message has been sent. “Malley said. .
Rosen said that after five days without eating he felt weak and would respond to those calls.
“At the request of Special Envoy Malley and my doctors and others, we have agreed [that] after this meeting, I will stop my hunger strike, but that does not mean that others will not take over,” Rosen said.
The indirect talks between Iran and the United States on bringing the two countries back to full compliance with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal are in their eighth round. Iran refuses to hold meetings with US officials, which means others are shuttling between the two sides.
Iran’s 2015 deal with major powers lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear activities that extended the time it would need to obtain enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb if it did. wanted to. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.
Then-President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, reimposing punitive economic sanctions on Tehran. Iran has responded by violating many of the deal’s nuclear restrictions, to the point that Western powers say the deal will soon be gutted.
When asked if Iran and the United States could negotiate directly, Malley replied, “We haven’t heard anything to that effect. We would welcome it.
Among the four US citizens detained in Iran are Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, 50, and his father Baquer, 85, both convicted of “collaborating with a hostile government”. Namazi remains in jail. Her father was medically released in 2018 and his sentence was later reduced to the length of his sentence. While the elder Namazi is no longer imprisoned, a family lawyer says he is effectively banned from leaving Iran.
“Senior Biden administration officials have repeatedly told us that while the potential nuclear and Iranian hostage deals are independent and must be negotiated on parallel tracks, they won’t just make the nuclear deal through him. -even,” said Namazi pro bono attorney Jared Genser. family.
“Otherwise, all leverage to get the hostages out will be lost,” he added.
The others are environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 66, also a British citizen, and businessman Emad Shargi, 57.