Tehran, Iran (Al Jazeera) – Contradictory statements may be the latest example of clashes between political factions as Iran’s presidential elections loom.
Iran’s foreign ministry says a state television report on prisoner swaps with the United States cannot be confirmed as a political rift widens ahead of presidential elections in June.
Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday that the report could not be confirmed and that the issue of swapping prisoners is being reviewed by both sides.
The state-run broadcaster had quoted an unnamed official on Sunday as saying four Iranian prisoners held in the US for circumventing sanctions would be swapped with four American dual nationals in Iran, and $7bn in frozen Iranian funds will be released.
Khatibzadeh added that Iran continues to stand by its demand to unfreeze all its assets that are blocked in several countries because of unilateral US sanctions.
The state TV report also said British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be released when Britain pays off a decades-old debt of 400 million pounds ($553m) it owed Tehran.
Both the US Department of State and the British Foreign Office rejected the state TV report on Sunday.