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U.S. denies Iran media report of prisoner swap

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“I can tell you, unfortunately, that report is untrue.”

White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Sunday denied a report by Iran's state television that the two countries had reached a prisoner swap deal in exchange for the release of $7 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds under U.S. sanctions.

Iranian state television on Sunday said that Tehran would free four Americans accused of spying in exchange for four Iranians held in the U.S. and the release of the frozen Iranian funds.

But Klain, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said there’s no deal.

“We're working very hard to get them released... But so far, there's no agreement to bring these four Americans home.”

Iran and world powers are holding talks to revive the 2015 nuclear accord that the Trump administration abandoned three years ago.

Iranian officials told Reuters last month that an interim deal could be a way to buy time for a lasting settlement that involved unfreezing Iranian funds blocked under U.S. sanctions.

Iranian state TV, quoting one of the country’s officials, also said British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be released once Britain had paid off a debt on military equipment owed to Tehran.

But a British Foreign Office official played down speculation of her release.

Video Transcript

RON KLAIN: John, I can tell you, unfortunately, that report is untrue.

- White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain on Sunday denied a report by Iran's state television that the two countries had reached a prisoner swap deal in exchange for the release of $7 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds under US sanctions. Iranian state television on Sunday said that Tehran would free four Americans accused of spying in exchange for four Iranians held in the US and the release of the frozen Iranian funds. But Klain, speaking on CBS's Face the Nation, said there's no deal.

RON KLAIN: We're working very hard to get them released. We raised this with Iran, but so far, there's no agreement to bring these four Americans home.

- Iran and world powers are holding talks to revive the 2015 nuclear accord that the Trump administration abandoned three years ago. Iranian officials told Reuters last month that an interim deal could be a way to buy time for a lasting settlement that involved unfreezing Iranian funds blocked under US sanctions. Iranian state TV quoting one of the country's officials also said, "The British Iranian national Nazanin Zagari Radcliffe would be released once Britain had paid off a debt on military equipment owned to Tehran." But a British Foreign Office official played down speculation of her release.