A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during press conference Photograph:( AFP )
The lead negotiator of the nuclear deal said Washington has put forward the condition that it will strike an agreement with Iran to revive the nuclear pact only when Tehran will release four US citizens
Iran on Monday blamed the United States for the slow pace of talks between Tehran and world powers in Vienna.
The lead negotiator of the nuclear deal said Washington has put forward the condition that it will strike an agreement with Iran to revive the nuclear pact only when Tehran will release four US citizens.
The four US citizens held in Iran are Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, 50, and his father Baquer, 85, as well as environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 66, and businessman Emad Sharqi, 57.
"Iran has never accepted any preconditions ... The US official's comments on the release of US prisoners in Iran is for domestic use," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference.
"They are two different paths, but if the other party (the US) has the determination, there is the possibility that we reach a reliable and lasting agreement in both of them in the shortest time," he added.
"Iran has not accepted any precondition from day one of the negotiations," Khatibzadeh said. He added that "the negotiations are complicated enough, and should not get more complex with complicated remarks".
The drive to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal resumed in late November, after talks were suspended in June as Iran elected ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi.
In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump had ditched the agreement and reimposed crippling sanctions on Tehran, prompting Iran to gradually breach limits of the deal on its nuclear programme.
The two sides have done prisoner swaps in the past. Navy veteran Michael White, returned home in June 2020 in return for the United States allowing an Iranian-American physician Majid Taheri to visit Iran.
(With inputs from agencies)