NOURNEWS - The exchange of prisoners between Iran and the United States is an issue that has become a topic of discussion in recent years, and in different periods of time, actions have been taken by both sides in this regard. Towards the end of Barack Obama's presidency, regardless of the nuclear negotiations, negotiations between Iran and the United States over prisoner exchanges took place, which eventually led to the release of four Iranian-American dual prisoners and seven Iranian prisoners. In addition, the White House at the time also lifted an extradition order for 11 other Iranians who, according to Washington's claims, were active in circumventing sanctions and cashed in on Iran's $1.7 billion demand for the old weapons purchases file known as "FMS." At that time, and after the successful exchange of the mentioned agreement between Tehran and Washington, London also regarding the exchange operation aimed at releasing Nazanin Zaghari, an Iranian-British spy imprisoned in Iran in exchange for our country's demand in the Iranian military procurement case called "IMS" worth 390 million pounds, announced its readiness and Tehran-London negotiations began in this regard. In the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump sharply criticized Obama's actions in the prisoner exchange between Tehran and Washington, accusing the former US president of ransoming Iran and claiming that he could kill all American prisoners in Iran without paying any free amount. Donald Trump took a new turn with the appointment of Robert O'Brien as his special envoy. Trump's bullying actions on the issue of prisoner exchanges not only disrupted the process between the two sides during the Obama administration, but also disrupted the Tehran-London talks, effectively creating a stalemate in the process. During Trump's presidency, only two one-on-one exchanges were conducted between Iran and the United States without any direct negotiations between the two countries, during which two Iranian prisoners were released in the United States in exchange for a Chinese-American spy and an American accused of moral issues and insulting Iranian officials. The US interference in the exchange talks between Iran and Britain was due to the fact that after the finalization of the agreement between the two sides for the release of Zaghari in exchange for paying Iran's debt, Trump insisted on the release of " Morad Tahbaz", a three-national spy (Iranian-British-American). Nazanin Zaghari said that due to Iran's opposition to the request, the negotiations that started did not lead to a result. From the beginning of Joe Biden's reign when he came to power after the 2020 elections, however, The White House has called for a resumption of prisoner exchange talks, claiming that human rights issues and cases take precedence over political issues. Taking advantage of the opportunity, London also demanded that negotiations on the release of Nazanin Zaghari in exchange for paying off Iran's debts in the arms purchase case begin at the same time. With Iran's admission, indirect talks began on the exchange of four Iranians for four Americans, in addition to the payment of $ 7 billion of Iran's blocked claims in other countries to the United States and negotiations with Britain to release Nazanin Zaghari, and continued until a final agreement was reached. Since the beginning of the formation of this process, Iran has stated that the issue of prisoner swaps has nothing to do with the JCPOA revival negotiations, and that Tehran's approach in this regard is focused solely on pursuing human rights and humanitarian issues. In the meantime, after the Vienna talks were halted at the end of the sixth round, the U.S. suddenly tied the Vienna negotiations to the process, contrary to its initial claims that political issues were separate from the prisoner exchange, arguing that the $7 billion payment would give Iran a breathing chance and reduce Tehran's incentive to continue attending the JCPOA revival talks. Following the US refusal to implement the terms of the agreement, London again demanded the extradition of Morad Tahbaz to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which, of course, was suspended due to Iranian opposition. This deceptive behavior, which has been followed up over the past few weeks by widespread western media propaganda to blame Iran for the prisoner exchange process, showed that the U.S. government's top priority is to pursue political goals, and that the slogan of protecting human rights is only a tool in the service of providing political desires. In this regard; An informed official told Nournews that although Iran had previously backed down from its position on "exchanging all Iranian prisoners with all American prisoners" for humanitarian human rights purposes, it was now willing to engage in occasional exchanges, but now with dirty behavior and continued breaches of the treaty. The Biden government no longer has any incentive on the part of Iran to continue this process, and therefore will remove the issue of exchange in its current form from its agenda altogether.
BY: Mohammad Ghaderi