US says no change to Iran policy after prisoner swap agreement

US says no change to Iran policy after prisoner swap agreement

Deal with Tehran 'entirely separate matter' from other outstanding issues in bilateral relationship, says Antony Blinken

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that there has been no change to the US' approach to Iran after the nations struck a tentative prisoner swap deal last week.

"The agreement that we're pursuing to bring home those who are wrongfully detained in Iran is an entirely separate matter that we want to bring to a successful conclusion," Blinken told reporters at the State Department.

"It's important to note that even as we have been pursuing this effort to bring our Americans home, we have continued to pursue very vigorously our efforts to counter a whole variety of actions being taken by Iran that we profoundly object to, and so do many other countries around the world," he added.

The top diplomat pointed to a series of actions the US has maintained in the wake of the deal, including the continued implementation of US sanctions and bolstered American military forces in the Persian Gulf to protect international shipping.

"There is a long list of things that Iran has engaged in and a long list of actions that we continue to take to oppose what Iran is doing," he said.

Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi and two others who wish to remain anonymous -- who were "unjustly detained" by Iran, have been transferred to house arrest, the White House confirmed Thursday.

Their transfer is part of a wider deal still being brokered in which Iran said Washington will reciprocally release five Iranian nationals detained in the US, and free up $6 billion in state assets frozen in South Korea.

The White House has maintained that talks to finalize the deal remain ongoing and delicate but said there will be restrictions on how Iran would be allowed to use the frozen funds. The US will have "full visibility" on where they are directed and used, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Friday.

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