US-Iran prisoner swap said to be part of larger deal that addresses nuclear program

Israeli officials have said that the prisoner swap announced by the US on Thursday with Iran is part of an overall agreement between Washington and Tehran, which has been working towards a more informal arrangement to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

The New York Times reported that two senior Israeli defense officials said the prisoner deal was a result of agreements reached between the US, Iran and the US during indirect talks held in Oman.

Report said that the prisoner agreement may also help facilitate future diplomacy, since the Biden administration is trying to stop Iran from developing nuclear arms.

The prisoner deal would eliminate a major sticking point between Washington, D.C. and Tehran. The two countries’ relations have also been strained due to Iran’s support of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and its threats against commercial maritime traffic on the Persian Gulf.


Iran and the US seem to be sticking to the informal agreements negotiated in Oman. These include Iran restricting further development of its nucleonic program and preventing Iran’s proxies from attacking US forces in Iraq and Syria.

An Israeli official claimed that Russia was seeking more military assistance from Iran despite the hundreds attack drones Iran sent to support Moscow’s war effort.

The prisoner exchange agreement saw Iran transfer five Iranian Americans to house arrest as a first step towards their release. This was in exchange for 6 to 7 billion dollars in Iranian funds, which were frozen due to sanctions in South Korea.

Iran’s UN Mission said that the money will be sent to Qatar first, and then to Iran in the event the agreement is successful. The Associated Press reported that the final transfer of money and release of detainees is expected within the next few months due to the complexity of financial transactions.

Iran has said that it also wants the release of Iranians held in the US. American officials refused to comment on how many or who of the Iranian prisoners could be released as part of a final deal. The New York Times reported on Friday that five Iranians who are currently in jail in the US would be released.

As part of an agreement on humanitarian cooperation, mediated by a third party government, Iran has agreed to pardon and release five prisoners. In a UN statement, Iran’s UN Mission said that the release of these prisoners marks an important first step in the implementation.

The deal was made amid an American military buildup on the Persian Gulf. US troops could board and guard commercial ships in Strait of Hormuz where 20% of oil shipments travel.

The agreement will open the US administration of US President Joe Biden to new criticisms from Republicans and other parties that it helps boost the Iranian economic at a moment when Iran is a growing danger to US troops in the Middle East and allies.

US officials denied that they reached a nuclear agreement with Iran in indirect negotiations held in Oman.

US Secretary of state Antony Blinken stated that the prisoner agreement will not result in more sanctions being lifted for Iran.

“We will continue to enforce our sanctions.” Blinken stated that we will continue to resolutely push back against Iran’s activities destabilizing the region and beyond. “None [of these efforts] takes away from that.”

Blinken, speaking of the prisoners’ plight, said that “more work must be done” to bring them back.

Since its first day in office, the Biden administration has defended the desire to return the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. The deal fell apart after the former US President Donald Trump unilaterally resigned in 2018, causing Iran to intensify its nuclear program.

US intelligence assessments said Iran was not currently pursuing nuclear arms but had increased activities that could assist it in developing them.

Israel has maintained for years that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon and opposes any renewed nuclear agreement.

The formal nuclear talks between Iran, the Biden administration and the US fell apart in Vienna last year. The US blamed this failure on the Iranians’ unreasonable demands.