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Prisoner exchange with US not on Iran’s agenda anymore: Official

Published: Updated:

Iran will not continue with its plans for prisoner swaps with the United States, an unnamed Iranian official told the semi-official Nour News agency on Tuesday, accusing Washington of “breaches” against efforts to free the detainees.

“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.

Earlier on Tuesday, Iran’s hardline incoming president Ebrahim Raisi said he would take steps to lift “tyrannical” sanctions imposed by the United States, after winning the formal endorsement of the country’s supreme leader to take office later this week.

Raisi, who is under personal US sanctions over allegations of human rights abuses in his past as a judge, promised to improve the living conditions of Iranians, which have worsened since 2018 when Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran after abandoning a nuclear deal.

“We will seek to lift the tyrannical sanctions imposed by America,” Raisi, elected in June to replace pragmatist Hassan Rouhani in a vote in which other high profile candidates were barred from standing, said in a televised speech.

“But we will not tie the ... economy to the will of foreigners,” said Raisi, a protege of Khamenei.

Iran and six powers have been in talks since April to revive the nuclear pact, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program to make it harder to obtain fissile material for a weapon in return for relief from sanctions.

Iran says it has never sought nuclear weapons and never would.

Iranian and Western officials have said significant gaps remain to reinstating the pact. A sixth round of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington in Vienna adjourned on June 20, and the parties have yet to announce when they will resume.

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