Iran said Monday it was open to more prisoner swaps with the US while stressing an exchange at the weekend was not the result of formal negotiations with Washington.
“This was only an exchange and… regarding exchanges we are ready to act but there are no negotiations,” spokesman Ali Rabiei said on state television.
“Negotiations or any kind of talks” can only take place “within the framework of the 5+1 and after America has refrained from sanctions and economic terrorism,” he said.
The P5+1 is the group of countries that agreed a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015 — the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
The exchange on the weekend involved Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-born American held in Iran since 2016, and Massoud Soleimani, an Iranian scientist detained in the United States since 2018.
The Iranian spokesman Rabiei said the prisoner swap came despite a US rejection of an offer Tehran made to Washington last year for an exchange of all detainees.
A few months ago, he said, Iran had received a message from “a former US official” saying the Americans were ready to make an exchange.
Rabiei appeared to be referring to former US congressman Jim Slattery who, according to the New Yorker magazine, had approached the Iranians on behalf of the Wang family’s lawyer.