Iran grants clemency to over 5,000 prisoners US, France must take final decision on nuclear deal

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Tehran

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has granted clemency to more than 5,000 prisoners to mark a Shiite religious holiday, a statement on his official website said Saturday.

The statement gave no details of the identity of the 5,156 prisoners who were pardoned or had their sentences reduced.

Clemency was granted to mark last Tuesday’s anniversary of the birth of Imam Reza, one of Shiite Islam’s most revered figures.

His birth anniversary is one of several religious holidays when the supreme leader grants clemency to prisoners each year.

Meanwhile, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement that world powers must take any final decision to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, after France and the United States suggested that time was running out.

“The opposing sides are the ones who must take the decisions,” spokesman said. The remarks came after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Tehran to take “difficult” decisions that could help advance negotiations to revive the accord.

“The Islamic republic never left” the accord, said Khatibzadeh. “The United States must itself take the decision to return (to the deal) and lift the illegal sanctions” imposed by Trump on Tehran, he added.

On Friday, Le Drian held talks with Blinken in Paris and warned Iran that time was running out to return to the deal.

Blinken warned that the United States still had “serious differences” with Iran, which has kept negotiating since last week’s presidential election won by ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi.— AFP

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