Tehran, March 7 The Iranian government said, on Monday, that significant progress has been made in talks with the United States on the exchange of prisoners between the two countries. “Great progress has been made in talks with the United States on the prisoner exchange,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzad told a news conference. The diplomat stated that the release of Iranian prisoners on US soil is a “priority” of his country. The talks on the prisoner exchange come as talks between Iran, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, China and indirectly the United States to restore the 2015 nuclear deal appear to be nearing an end. Mali, in January, said a nuclear deal was unlikely without the release of the many Iranian-Americans imprisoned in the prisons of the Persian state. When the 2015 agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program was signed in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, Iran released five Americans and the United States released seven Iranians as part of the deal. Now, at least four Iranian-Americans with dual nationals are in prison in Iran on various charges of spying or conspiring against national security: Baqer Namazi, his son Siamak Namazi, Imad Sharqi, and Morad Tahbaz. In addition to these, there are at least three British-Iranian nationals imprisoned in Iranian prisons on national security charges, such as Anousheh Ashouri, Mehran Raouf and Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and three others with dual citizenships from other European countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been accused of using these prisoners as leverage or to exchange prisoners with other countries. EFE jlr / pi
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