MP: Iran, U.S. continue prisoner swap talks

By Sadeq Dehqan
Staff writer

A senior Iranian lawmaker has said negotiations are underway between Iran and the United States for exchanging prisoners.  
Mohammad Hassan Asafari, the deputy head of the Councils and Internal Affairs Committee of the Iranian Parliament, told Iran Daily that such negotiations would not prevent Iran from confronting and capturing U.S.-linked spies in the country.
Asafari dismissed recent U.S. threats over Iran’s approach toward those who are engaged in acts of espionage in the country.
“Recent threats made by President Joe Biden and other American officials will fail to force Iran’s intelligence bodies to remain indifferent toward spies who operate in Iran on behalf of the U.S. and some European countries,” the MP said.
He urged Iran’s intelligence and security bodies to exercise vigilance in the face of espionage acts and deal seriously with those who seek to undermine the country’s security.
On Thursday, Biden intensified anti-Tehran rhetoric announcing new sanctions against the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. He accused the IRGC of “engaging in the wrongful detention of Americans”.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Our actions are a clear and direct warning to those around the world who wrongfully detain U.S. nationals of the potential consequences of their actions.”

Iran’s frozen assets
Asafari also said that talks have been held between American and South Korean officials for releasing Iran’s frozen assets in the East Asian country.
The legislator said South Korea owes Iran $9 billion for oil shipments, which is expected to be released. He added that promises have been made for the release of $7 billion of the blocked money in the first stage.
He noted that President Ebrahim Raeisi would travel to South Korea to facilitate the release of the frozen assets.
European anti-Iran sanctions
Asafari also touched upon sanctions imposed on Iran by Europe under the pretext of human rights violations.
“Western countries have frequently imposed sanctions on Iran over alleged human rights abuses. This shows that they follow the U.S. policy of Iranophobia,” he said.
The MP also denounced the West’s double-standard toward the Islamic Republic.
“Europeans have adopted a double-standard approach toward Iran. Once they imposed sanctions on Iran under the pretext of its nuclear activities. But when their ploys and non-commitments regarding the 2015 nuclear deal came to light, they used human rights as an excuse for their actions against Iran.”
Last week, the European Union and the UK imposed new sanctions on multiple Iranian individuals and legal entities over alleged human rights violations.
Consequently, Iran retaliated by slapping sanctions on more than 20 individuals and legal entities from the EU and Britain.



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