The spokesman of Iranian government, Ali Rabiei said on Sunday that Tehran was ready for a full prisoner exchange with the United States without preconditions.
According to the details, if a swap goes successful then it would be one of very rare instances of cooperation in an otherwise deeply frayed U.S.-Iran relationship which has grown more aggressive since U.S. President Donald Trump became the president.
According to the government’s website Dolat.ir, Rabiei said, “We have stated our readiness to discuss the release of all prisoners without preconditions … but Americans have not responded yet. It seems to us that Americans are more prepared than before to end this situation.”
Iran and U.S. have called for release of prisoners because of the new coronavirus pandemic. The US has the highest number of deaths from coronavirus while Iran is the worst hit country in the Middle East.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet, “The ball is in the U.S.’ court”.
Earlier, Iranian Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said the country’s military forces are closely monitoring all movements by the US military in the region.
“What took place against US bases in Iraq in the past weeks was a natural reaction by Iraqi people to (Washington’s) evil act to assassinate Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and commander of Iraq’s resistance forces Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis,” Iranian Chief of Staff Major General Baqeri said.
Washington has blamed Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is a major PMU (Popular Mobilization Units) faction, for about a dozen rocket attacks against American troops based in Iraq over the past few months. The group has denied any role in such raids, saying if Kata’ib Hezbollah decided to launch attacks, it had no fear of making the news public.
The top Iranian general rejected reports and claims that the Islamic Republic was involved in the strikes against the US bases.