Ali Rabiei said Sunday that there is a willingness to exchange all prisoners and talk about their release without preconditions, but the US government has so far refused to respond.
“We have information that Iranian citizens in US prisons are not in good conditions and are not well cared for, and this is worrying for us,” noted Rabiei in an interview with Khabar Online.
However, he added, the United States seems more prepared than ever to end this situation. “That’s why we are not making the final judgment now. We wait for any tangible progress that is being made.”
He further noted that the US government is aware of Tehran’s readiness and there is no need for the mediation of a third country; however, if the American side agrees, the Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United States will deliver Tehran’s views on the details, including how and when to do the swap.
“We are ready to discuss the release of all prisoners. It is the American side that needs to comment on this, and there is evidence of a change in their views.”
He went on to say that Iran hopes in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19, which threatens the lives of Iranian citizens in US prisons, the US government will eventually give more priority to human life rather than politics.
Earlier, The New York Times reported that Iran and the United States are negotiating an agreement that would release a United States Navy veteran held by the Iran in exchange for an Iranian-American doctor detained by the Americans.
The New York Times quoted a senior Iranian official and a spokesman for the veteran’s family as saying that a prisoner swap between the two countries was in the works.
Back in March, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Islamic Republic to release US prisoners as a humanitarian gesture amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Last December, Tehran released US citizen Xiyue Wang, who had been held on spying charges, and the United States freed Iranian researcher Masoud Soleimani, who faced charges of violating Washington’s sanctions on the Islamic Republic.