Qatari jet on standby in Iran for US citizens to terminate deal
A Qatari aircraft is poised to transport detained US citizens from Iran as part of the agreed upon prisoner exchange.
A Qatari aircraft is currently positioned in Iran, ready to transport five detained US citizens and two of their relatives as part of a prisoner exchange, according to a source familiar with the situation who spoke to AFP on Monday.
The source, who requested anonymity, stated, "A Qatari jet is on standby in Iran to bring the five US citizens and two relatives to Doha."
Furthermore, it should be noted that frozen funds totaling $6 billion have been transferred to Qatari bank accounts to facilitate a prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran.
Another source with knowledge of the matter, also speaking on condition of anonymity, stated, "Iranian and US officials have been informed by Qatar that the entire $6 billion has been transferred from Switzerland to bank accounts in Qatar."
Earlier this week, in a phone call with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that the transfer of Iran's unfrozen funds in South Korea to bank accounts in Qatar, as part of a prisoner exchange deal with the US, is expected to be completed this week.
Qatar played a key role in mediating talks between Iran and the United States that led to a prisoner exchange deal on August 10.
The deal included the release of five prisoners from each country and the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian funds that had been frozen in South Korean banks since 2018 due to US sanctions.
The transfer of the funds was delayed by more than a month due to a daily limit on the amount of exchange possible for Iranian funds that were in South Korean won.
According to unconfirmed details that were published in media reports earlier in the week, the Swiss National Bank assisted in converting Iranian funds into a usable currency, and Qatar covered the associated banking fees, as part of the prisoner exchange agreement.
During the phone call, Amir-Abdollahian praised Qatar for its role in mediating the prisoner exchange deal with the US and also reiterated that both sides are ready to swap prisoners on the agreed date.
Iran has already released five US prisoners to house arrest as part of a prisoner exchange deal, and the country's mission at the UN has also identified five Iranians who will be released from US prisons.