An Iranian government spokesperson on May 10 reportedly said that the country is ready for a prisoner swap ‘without preconditions’ with the United States. According to a local Iranian media outlet, the spokesperson, Ali Rabiee said that the country is ready to exchange Iranian and American prisoners and the authorities are also ready to discuss it with the US. He further also urged Washington to respond to Tehran’s call as the Iran authority is worried about the health conditions of the prisoners in US jails.
The remarks by the Iranian official followed a December exchange of two prisoners between Tehran and Washington. It also comes after US requested Tehran to release all American prisoners held in Iranian jails as the coronavirus outbreak is escalating in the country.
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a press statement called for humanitarian release of all wrongfully detained Americans in Iran. Secretary Pompeo in his statement said, "Reports that COVID-19 has spread to Iranian prisons are deeply troubling and demand nothing less than the full and immediate release of all American citizens”.
Pompeo in his statement had also pointed out that the Iranian regime released 70,000 prisoners due to the outbreak of COVID-19, demonstrating its ability to grant clemency and show mercy. He added, “Yet it continues to unjustly detain several American citizens, without cause or justification”. Pompeo in his statement urged other nations to seek a reciprocal humanitarian gesture by the Iranian regime in case they are considering providing Tehran with humanitarian assistance to battle COVID-19.
Rabiee statement also comes as the US is currently the worst affected country by the deadly virus. The US has more than 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and the deadly virus has also claimed nearly 80,044 lives in the country. The Iranian government spokesperson also noted that while the last year’s prison swap was facilitated by the Swiss government, this time he reportedly said that there is ‘no need for a third country’ to mediate. Meanwhile, the US-Iran tensions have escalated since 2018 when US President Donald Trump exited a landmark nuclear deal negotiated between Tehran and world powers.