$7 bln in Iranian funds could be freed following prisoner release
A prisoner exchange between Iran and the US, including the unfreezing of $7 billion in Iranian funds, is underway as Iran releases two Iranian-Americans convicted of espionage.
Iran implemented the terms of a prisoner exchange with the US, according to a United Nations statement on Saturday, as it allowed an Iranian-American, Baqer Namazi, 85, to leave the country for medical treatment abroad as well as released his son, Siamak, 50, from detention.
Baqer Namazi, convicted of espionage in Iran, is a former UNICEF official who was imprisoned in February 2016 after having traveled to Iran to campaign for the release of his son Siamak, who had been arrested the previous October.
It is worth noting that in 2018, the father was granted medical leave and commenced serving his sentence under house arrest.
IRNA news agency said that "With the finalization of negotiations between Iran and the United States to release the prisoners of both countries, $7 billion of Iran's blocked resources will be released."
Several billion dollars in Iranian funds have been seized in a number of countries, including China, South Korea, and Japan. These funds were seized after the US reimposed harsh sanctions against Iran in 2018 after the US unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 JCPOA agreement.
Tehran has accused Seoul of keeping $7 billion in its funds "hostage," and has repeatedly demanded that it be released.
In recent negotiations regarding the renewal of the JCPOA agreement, Iran had consistently demanded the easing of sanctions against its people, as well as assurances that the US will not, once again, withdraw from a resurrected deal.
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