No link between Iran freeing Americans, sanctions

US Secretary of State John Kerry. (AFP)
US Secretary of State John Kerry. (AFP)

Washington - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday there was no direct link between the release of Americans detained in Iran and the lifting of punishing sanctions against Tehran.

In two days of fast-moving diplomacy at the weekend, five Americans were freed by Iran on Saturday and on Sunday the US and Iranian presidents hailed the implementation of Tehran's nuclear deal, which saw Washington and the European Union lift sanctions.

Kerry told CNN that the timing was coincidental and that the Americans would have been released even if the sanctions had remained in place.

"It happened to come together at that moment, I think that everybody saw that that would be propitious, but it was not directly linked," he said.

"I had hoped it [their release] would have happened a couple months ago actually and then it hit a snag and we continued to negotiate."

Four of the American prisoners, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, were freed in exchange for Washington pardoning seven Iranians accused of sanctions-busting.

A fifth American was also released in a separate process.

Kerry also confirmed a report by The Washington Post that the flight out of Iran of Rezaian and two of the other Americans was delayed because of a mix-up over the fate of Rezaian's wife Yeganeh.

"It did hit a snag because word somehow had not been communicated with the respect to the manifest on the plane that Jason Rezaian's wife would be coming with him," Kerry said.

However, the Iranian government quickly understood that "the terms of the agreement included her", said Kerry.

"We went through a period of time while they were located and ultimately reunited with Jason, and now all is well that ends well."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 132 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 249 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 648 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.27
(-0.23)
ZAR/GBP
20.36
(-0.28)
ZAR/EUR
18.27
(-0.23)
ZAR/AUD
11.28
(-0.05)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.43)
Gold
1766.22
(-1.13)
Silver
21.93
(-3.11)
Platinum
956.00
(-0.78)
Brent Crude
47.90
(0.00)
Palladium
2401.26
(-0.44)
All Share
57822.50
(-0.17)
Top 40
53021.58
(-0.12)
Financial 15
11577.71
(-0.58)
Industrial 25
79894.95
(-0.12)
Resource 10
52804.55
(+0.03)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo