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World: Lead 1-nuclear: The US calls for the release of prisoners, Iran rejects any pre-condition

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Iran-USA / Prisoners (Lead 1, Exclusive, Photo): Lead 1-Nuclear: USA Require the Liberation of Prisoners , Iran rejects any pre-condition

(updated with Iranian reaction)

Vienna, January 24 (Reuters) - the US scape of the United States for Iran, Robert Malley, considered unlikely that the agreement of 2015 on Iranian nuclear power can be saved if Tehran does not release four Americans accused of espionage, a "pre-condition" almost immediately rejected by Tehran.

In an interview provided on Sunday in Reuters, the US diplomat, the main negotiator of the agreement signed in Vienna in 2015, recalled that the issue of the four Americans held in Iran was distinct from the negotiations to return to the rails. Iranian nuclear power.

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But he considered it difficult to ignore the fate of these four "hostages". "I would say that it is very difficult for us to imagine back in the nuclear agreement while four innocent Americans are selected hostage by Iran," he said.

"Thus, even though we indirectly lead talks with Iran on the nuclear file, we are still indirectly conducting discussions to ensure the release of our hostages," he added from Vienna, where Unroll the negotiations to bring back Washington and Tehran in full respect for the 2015 Agreement.

Tehran was quick to react to these comments.

"Iran has never accepted any pre-condition on the part of the United States ... the declaration of the US manager on the release of prisoners in Iran is intended for American public opinion," said the door -Parole from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saeed Khatibzadeh, during its weekly press conference.

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The spokesman added that Tehran refused in the same way any deadline to conclude a possible agreement, and put the slowness to which negotiations take place on the "unparalleled union" account.

Iran has arrested dozens of foreigners and binationals in recent years - of which he does not recognize dual nationality - most often by accusing them of espionage.

In addition to the four Americans, this is the case of the Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, reincarcerated two weeks after a first detention of June 2019 to October 2020 (), or the French tourist Benjamin Brière, arrested in May 2020 and that was only presented last week to a judge.

Human rights defenders accuse Iran to try to use these prisoners as trading currency in negotiations with Western powers, but Tehran refutes such an intention. (Francois Report Murphy in Vienna and Arshad Mohammed in Washington and; French version Camille Raynaud and Tangi Salaün)

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