Talks With US Confined to Nuclear Deal

Talks With US Confined to Nuclear DealTalks With US Confined to Nuclear Deal

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said direct talks between Iran and the US are limited to the nuclear deal, describing as inaccurate media reports that the two governments have discussed the state of two Iranian-American prisoners held in Iran on the sidelines of recent nuclear talks.  

Qasemi made the statement in a regular press briefing on Monday, IRNA reported.  Iran and P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China, plus Germany) concluded the nuclear deal in July 2015, which is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The seventh meeting of the Joint Commission, which monitors the implementation of JCPOA, was held in the Austrian capital Vienna last Tuesday.

Reuters reported last week that the US delegation attending the talks was to ask for the release of Siamak Namazi and Baquer Namazi on the sidelines of the meeting.

Iranian security forces detained Siamak, a businessman in his mid-40s, in October 2015 while he was visiting his family in Tehran.

His 80-year-old father Baquer Namazi, a former Iranian provincial governor and former UNICEF official who also has dual citizenship, was arrested in February 2016.

An Iranian court sentenced the two Namazis to 10 years in prison each in October on charges of spying and cooperating with the United States.

Qasemi said Iran has held no non-nuclear talks with the US in recent years, except negotiations on a prisoner swap deal that was implemented in January 2016.

Under the deal, Iran released four prisoners with dual Iranian-US nationality and in return, Washington granted clemency to seven Iranians imprisoned in the US for sanctions-related charges and dropped arrest warrants for 14 others.

Qasemi said although the US delegation raised the prisoners issue on Tuesday, "we still have no instructions to discuss issues outside the scope of JCPOA with the US", he said.

US State Department Spokesman Mark Toner called on Thursday for the immediate release of the two prisoners on humanitarian grounds.

"The United States is deeply concerned about reports of their declining health and wellbeing in detention," Toner said.


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