The United States released Tehran’s frozen assets in South Korea worth $6-7 billion in exchange for the release of five Americans convicted in Iran.
Iranian Central Bank Governor Mohammad Reza Farzin said on Saturday that the money would be transferred to Iranian bank accounts in Qatar and spent on goods not on the sanctions list, RFE/RL’s Iran Service reported. The difference in the possible amount is due to the fact that the assets are frozen in won, and will be converted into other currencies at an as yet unknown rate, the Times of Israel notes.
White House spokesman John Kirby said Friday that Washington has only allowed unlocked funds to be spent on food, medical supplies and medical supplies that cannot be used in military programs.
The process of releasing the Americans and transferring is not yet complete and, as previously reported, will be completed by mid-to-late September. The names of only three of the five released citizens are known.
These are businessmen Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and environmentalist Morad Tahbaz. All of them were sentenced to ten years for cooperation with a foreign state or espionage. Their lawyers maintained their innocence. Another prisoner is known to be a woman.
The names of the other two released prisoners are unknown. The New York Times notes that the White House decision to unlock assets is actively criticized by the Republican Party. Former US Vice President Mike Pence, who ran for the 2024 presidential election, called the Washington-Tehran deal “the biggest buyout in American history.”
“Iran is using this money to produce drones for Russia and sponsor terrorism against the US and Israel. China and Russia, which hold American hostages, now know their price,” wrote politics on twitter.