Iran and the United States have been informed that $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds were transferred to accounts in Qatar, according to a source. This transfer triggered a carefully planned exchange of five detainees between the two countries. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed that the funds, previously frozen in South Korea, would be in Iran’s possession on Monday, allowing the deal mediated by Qatar to proceed. The United States has not yet made a public comment on the matter. However, the source briefed on the situation informed RushHourDaily that both parties have been notified by Qatar that the entire $6 billion has been transferred from Switzerland to bank accounts in Qatar. Additionally, a Qatari aircraft is on standby in Iran, ready to transport five soon-to-be-released U.S. citizens and two relatives to Doha on Monday morning.
Under the terms of the deal, the five Americans with dual nationality will depart Tehran and travel to Doha, Qatar’s capital, before flying to the United States. In return, five Iranians detained in the U.S. will be released. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that two of the detainees would return to Iran, while two others would remain in the U.S. at their request. The remaining detainee will join their family in a third country. The deal, which was first announced on August 10, will help alleviate tensions between Washington and Tehran, although significant disagreements persist on various issues such as Iran’s nuclear ambitions, its regional influence, U.S. sanctions, and America’s military presence in the Gulf.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry confirmed its commitment to working with all parties involved in the deal to ensure its smooth progress and resolution. The U.S. citizens to be released include Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharqi, Morad Tahbaz, and two others whose identities have not been disclosed. These individuals were previously released from prison and placed under house arrest. The five Iranians to be released by the U.S. have been named as Mehrdad Moin-Ansari, Kambiz Attar-Kashani, Reza Sarhangpour-Kafrani, Amin Hassanzadeh, and Kaveh Afrasiabi. While Afrasiabi will remain in the United States, the plans for the other four detainees have not been specified.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been escalating since former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2018 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers. Efforts to reach a new nuclear deal have made little progress as President Joe Biden prepares for the upcoming 2024 U.S. election. As a first step in the recent deal, the U.S. waived sanctions to facilitate the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar. These funds had been blocked in South Korea due to stringent financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. As part of the agreement, Qatar has agreed to monitor how Iran utilizes the unfrozen funds, ensuring they are used for non-sanctioned humanitarian purposes such as food and medicine.
The transfer of Iran’s funds has faced criticism from U.S. Republicans who argue that the Biden administration is effectively paying a ransom for the release of U.S. citizens. The White House, however, has defended the deal. It is worth noting that an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Iranians were held in the U.S.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com