The United States on Sunday instantly denied a report by Iran’s state-run tv broadcaster that offers had been reached between the Islamic Republic, Washington and the United Kingdom that may see prisoners swapped and Tehran obtain billions of {dollars}.

The announcement by state tv, counting on an unnamed supply, comes amid a wider energy battle between hard-liners and the comparatively average authorities of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. That battle solely has grown sharper as Iran approaches its June 18 presidential election.

The broadcaster lengthy managed by hard-liners has aired equally anonymously sourced reviews contradicting diplomats in Vienna attempting to barter a return to its nuclear take care of world powers.

It wasn’t instantly clear if Sunday’s report represented one other means to disrupt negotiations by Rouhani officers or sabotage any potential negotiations with the West over frozen funds and prisoner exchanges.

The official quoted by Iranian state TV stated a deal made between the U.S. and Tehran concerned a prisoner swap in trade for the discharge of $7 billion in frozen Iranian funds.

“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,” state TV stated, quoting the official in an on-screen crawl. It didn’t title the Iranians that Tehran sought to be freed.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price instantly denied the Iranian state TV report.

“Reports that a prisoner swap deal has been reached are not true,” Price said. “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.”

Price didn’t elaborate. But Biden’s chief of employees Ron Klain instructed CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “unfortunately that report is untrue. There is no agreement to release these four Americans.”

“We’re working very hard to get them released,” Klain stated. “We raise this with Iran and our interlocutors all the time but so far there’s no agreement.”

Tehran holds four known Americans now in prison. They include Baquer and Siamak Namazi, environmentalist Morad Tahbaz and Iranian-American businessman Emad Shargi.

State TV also quoted the official as saying a deal had been reached for the United Kingdom to pay 400 million pounds to see the release of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

British officials downplayed the report. The Foreign Office said that the country continues “to explore options to resolve this 40-year old case and we will not comment further as legal discussions are ongoing.’’

Last week, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to an additional year in prison, her lawyer said, on charges of spreading “propaganda against the system” for participating in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.

That came after she completed a five-year prison sentence in the Islamic Republic after being convicted of plotting the overthrow of Iran’s government, a charge that she, her supporters and rights groups deny.

While employed at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency, she was taken into custody at the Tehran airport in April 2016 as she was returning home to Britain after visiting family.

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, told The Associated Press he was not aware of any swap in the works.

“We haven’t heard something,” he stated. “Of course we probably wouldn’t, but my instinct is to be skeptical at present.”

Earlier Sunday, U.Ok. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab instructed the BBC that he believed Zaghari-Ratcliffe was being held “unlawfully” by Iran.

“I think she’s been treated in the most abusive, tortuous way,” Raab stated. “I think it amounts to torture the way she’s been treated and there is a very clear, unequivocal obligation on the Iranians to release her and all of those who are being held as leverage immediately and without condition.”

Last week, Cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei hinted {that a} prisoner swap between Iran and the U.S. could also be within the works, saying the thought “has always been on the agenda” and noting the judiciary has confirmed its “readiness.” His remarks adopted that of the Foreign Ministry spokesman who urged Tehran hopes to swing a significant prisoner swap as a part of ongoing negotiations in Vienna. An identical swap accompanied the 2015 nuclear take care of world powers

Tehran is now negotiating with world powers over each it and the U.S. returning to its 2015 nuclear deal, which noticed it restrict its uranium enrichment in trade for the lifting of financial sanctions.

As the negotiations proceed, Iranian negotiators there have supplied encouraging feedback, whereas state TV quoted nameless sources putting maximalist positions. That even noticed Abbas Araghchi, the Iranian deputy overseas minister main the talks, supply a rebuke on Twitter final week to Iranian state tv’s English-language arm, Press TV.

“I don’t know who the ‘informed source’ of Press TV in Vienna is, but s/he is certainly not ‘informed,’” Araghchi wrote.


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