September 21, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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US returns frozen billions to Iran over upcoming prisoner swap

US returns frozen billions to Iran over upcoming prisoner swap

The release of funds paves the way for a prisoner exchange between the US and Iran, which the two countries agreed to on August 10: Last month, five US citizens detained in Iran were already allowed to leave a Tehran jail. They are under house arrest. Five Iranian prisoners in the US will now be released permanently in exchange for their release, it has been reported The Washington Post.

All the Americans have been detained for espionage. The released Iranians have been arrested for violating US sanctions against the Iranian regime. Earlier this year, Iran also released six European prisoners.

General restrictions apply

According to a document sent to congressional committees, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken determined that waiving sanctions in the case was in the interest of US national security. International banks that move money are also not at risk of sanctions, according to US media. A State Office spokesman in Washington insisted on Monday that the deal does not provide for the lifting of general sanctions against Iran.

Sources familiar with the negotiations say the $6 billion exchange and prisoner exchange could take place as early as next week. Iranian funds are currently tied up in accounts in South Korea, from where they can be transferred to Iranian-controlled accounts in Qatar. The condition for releasing the money is that “funds can only be used for humanitarian purposes,” the document said.

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