Iraq, on the defensive after brushing aside Iranian offers to break a deadlock in U.N.-sponsored peace talks, offered Wednesday to exchange prisoners as a gesture of good will, Baghdad Radio reported.

Iraq said it made the offer to exchange prisoners of war not as a concession to Iran, but as a show of good faith, the radio, monitored in Bahrain, said.There was no immediate response from Iran, which has pressed for a resumption of peace talks that have been stalled for eight weeks because of a dispute over the Shatt al Arab waterway.

Both sides hold an estimated 100,000 prisoners from the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.