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Iranian official says that GOP tried to delay prison swap

Admiral Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying that "Republicans rivals" of the Obama administration tried to delay a prisoner swap between Iran and the U.S.Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images

Admiral Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying that “Republicans rivals” of the Obama administration tried to delay a prisoner swap between Iran and the U.S.

An Iranian official claims that U.S. Republicans tried to use a recent prisoner swap to score political points and asked that Americans held by Tehran not be released until the 2016 election.

Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, said that “Republican rivals of the current U.S. administration” wanted to delay the release of four Americans who were given their freedom in mid-January, according to pro-regime Tasnim News Agency.

The prisoners’ release came as sanctions against Iran ended as part of the deal limiting the country’s nuclear capability negotiated by the Obama administration and world powers last year, which Republicans opposed.

However, Shamkhani reportedly said Thursday that opponents of Obama, “sent a message telling us not to release these people (American prisoners) and continue this process (of talks) until the eve of U.S. presidential elections.”

IRAN RELEASES 4 PEOPLE, INCLUDING REPORTER JASON REZAIAN

The Navy official’s claim, which could not be verified, accompanied him lavishing praise on his countrymen for not being influenced by foreigners and going through with the deal as planned.

The use of Washington Post images for political advertising or endorsements is not permittedThe Washington Post/Getty Images

Four American prisoners in Iran were released as part of the exchange, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian (right, with Secretary of State John Kerry).

Shamkhani, who comes from the same pragmatic wing of Iranian politics as President Hassan Rouhani but is an advisor to the Ayatollah, also took a jab at the alleged GOP interference in the swap by saying the Republicans involved “claim to be humanitarians and advocates of human rights.”

Americans including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and former Marine Amir Hekhmati, were transported out of Iran to Switzerland before eventually flying back to the U.S.

Seven Iranians held in American judicial system were released in the exchange after they were pardoned of accusations of stealing American technology and violating the trade embargo with Iran.

U.S. officials told ABC that none of the seven, six of whom were dual American-Iranian citizens, had chosen to return to the Middle Eastern nation in the immediate aftermath of the release.

With News Wire Services

cbrennan@nydailynews.com

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Nation / World – NY Daily News

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