Speaking at a weekly press conference on Monday, Rabiei said the responsibility for any delay in the exchange of Iranian and American inmates lies with Washington alone, as Tehran has already voiced readiness to conduct a full prisoner swap.
“Last week, we had a prisoner swap with the administration of the United States of America, an exchange of our prisoners -the dear Iranians- and the individuals who had committed crimes in Iran. It was good news that we managed to liberate three perfect Iranian scientists who have made great efforts to remove the scientific obstacles in the way of our country,” he noted.
“Dr. Soleimani, Dr. Taheri, and Dr. Asgari have either returned to Tehran or are on their way to Tehran. We hope that such process of complete release of all Iranians imprisoned in the US would continue. And as we have repeatedly announced, Iran is fully prepared for the exchange of all prisoners, and the responsibility for such procrastination lies with the government of the United States of America,” Rabiei added.
Asked about Iran’s view about the upcoming presidential elections in the US, the spokesman said, “We have nothing to do with the domestic elections in the US. We make decisions according to our own national interests. It depends on the polices of Mr. Trump’s administration when to show violence and when to exercise leniency. We neither feel fear for their display of violence, nor do we care about their window dressing policy.”
“We have nothing to do with the domestic issues of the US elections. The issues about the US elections are that country’s internal matters. We act according to our own national interests, and will definitely make decisions considering the US’s behaviors that run counter to the customary international law, regardless of their domestic issues. We do not intend to make a decision depending on who will be elected (US president), rather, we care about the national interests,” he added.
“Nevertheless, we do not see any sign of these tweets being genuine. The US administration’s willingness for serious and fruitful negotiations would have signs, which are not evident in the tweets and in such affairs. We have already announced that if the US is eager to hold talks with Iran, it can return to these talks with the presence of the remaining parties to the JCPOA by returning to the negotiating table it has once left,” Rabiei stated.
On the US administration’s push for direct talks and new deal with Iran, the spokesman said, “We are not optimistic that Mr. Trump’s invitation to negotiation and a deal would be anything more than a political show. The US administration also knows what it ought to do to achieve the appropriate conditions for any successful diplomacy towards Iran. They themselves are aware of it, and we have repeatedly made it clear. Throughout the past years, our trust in the (US) sincerity and seriousness and also in the fruitfulness of negotiation has been eroded. In order to build it (the trust), they (the US) must reconstruct whatever they have destroyed unilaterally.”
“We will make the necessary decisions on the basis of our national interests according to the conditions we mentioned. We also believe that their (American) threat to (propose) a resolution in the (UN) Security Council is a violation of the (UNSC) resolution 2231. We also do not recognize any right to extend the arms embargo against Iran. I make it clear that any political abuse by the US or any other country in the Security Council for changing the timeline for the resolution will have dire consequences; and the US and its cohorts will have to take overall responsibility for it,” he warned, referring to a resolution the US has drafted to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran that will expire in October under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).