US seeks in-person meetings with Iran over prisoner releases

WASHINGTON: The United States has expressed willingness to host an in-person meeting with Iran to discuss prisoner releases and wants the UN Security Council to impose an indefinite arms embargo.
Speaking at a virtual event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said he hoped for further prisoner exchanges and talks on a wide array of issues.
“We’d love to have an in person meeting to have a consular dialogue so that we can move faster than we have,” the senior diplomat said.
“The door for diplomacy on our side is wide open, not just on these matters but on … all the issues that have been bedevilling the US-Iran bilateral relations for 41 years,” he said, adding that US President Trump “would like to get to the negotiating table”.
He also said the Trump administration believes a UN arms embargo on Iran expiring in October should be extended indefinitely.
The two adversaries disagree on many issues ever since President Trump decided to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal two years ago under which Tehran limited its nuclear programme in return for economic sanctions relief.
Trump has since restored US sanctions that have choked Iran’s oil exports, the country’s main source of revenue, while Iran has accelerated its nuclear programme.
Tehran has been reluctant to deal with officials in Washington since the Trump administration abandoned the nuclear agreement.
Despite the tensions, the two sides struck a deal under which Iran freed a US Navy veteran imprisoned since 2018 and the US allowed an Iranian-American physician to visit Iran.
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