US has not changed policy on Iran after prisoner deal: Top US diplomat

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The top US diplomat said on Tuesday that sanctions against Iran and the American military’s beefed-up presence in the Gulf are proof that Washington continues to push back against Tehran’s destabilizing behavior despite a recent prisoner-for-cash deal.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the agreement that will see billions of dollars of Iranian funds unfrozen and Iranian prisoners freed in exchange for the release of five wrongfully detained Americans.

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“The United States will have significant oversight and visibility” of the Iranian funds that may be unfrozen as part of the deal, Blinken said.

Blinken also said the Biden administration’s policy toward Iran had not changed after the agreement and that the US would continue to implement its strategy of “deterrence, pressure and diplomacy.”

He said he could not confirm reports released less than 24 hours after the deal was announced that Iran had slowed how fast it was accumulating near weapons-grade enriched uranium and had diluted some of its stockpile.

The five American detainees released from prison and placed on house arrest at a hotel inside Iran include Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz.

Blinken said he had spoken with their families on Monday.

As for Shahab Dalili, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the US who has been detained for seven years by Iran, Blinken said he could not go into details due to privacy matters. But he said the US was constantly reviewing who was deemed wrongfully detained in another country.

Dalili’s son has been staging a sit-in and hunger strike in front of the White House to draw attention to his father’s case and demand that he be part of the recent deal with Iran.

Read more: Iran reportedly slows accumulation of enriched uranium: WSJ

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