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Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Eighty Six - 13 September 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Eighty Six - 13 September 2023 - Page 2

Raeisi: Tehran will spend $6b ‘wherever we need’

US to release five Iranian prisoners

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi said his government will decide how it will spend $6 billion in previously frozen funds due to be released in a prisoner exchange agreement with the United States, stressing that the money will be spent “wherever we need it”.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt in Tehran aired on Tuesday, Raeisi suggested that the Americans held in Iran would be coming home soon, saying that the US-Iran prisoner exchange deal would be completed in “due time” and that the American detainees were in “very healthy” condition.
Under the arrangement, Tehran will be granted access to the roughly $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues that were blocked in South Korean banks because of US sanctions. But US officials say Qatar’s central bank will oversee the funds and Iran will only be permitted to use the money for humanitarian purposes in accordance with US sanctions.
However, when asked if the money would be used for other purposes apart from humanitarian needs, Raeisi emphasized, “Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people need. So, this money will be budgeted for those needs, and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government.”
Five Iranian prisoners to be freed
The incumbent US administration has cleared the way for the implementation of the deal by issuing a blanket waiver for international banks to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian money from South Korea to Qatar without fear of US sanctions. In addition, as part of the deal, the administration has agreed to release five Iranian citizens held in the United States.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed off on the sanctions waivers late last week, a month after US and Iranian officials said an agreement in principle was in place. Congress was not informed of the waiver decision until Monday, according to the notification, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
The outlines of the deal had been previously announced and the waiver was expected. But the notification marked the first time the administration said it was releasing five Iranian prisoners as part of the deal. The prisoners have not been named.
The waiver drew criticism of President Joe Biden from Republicans and others who say the deal will boost the Iranian economy.
Former President Donald Trump on Monday criticized President Joe Biden for striking the deal, calling for the Republicans to invoke the 25th Amendment, according to The Messenger. The 25th Amendment establishes procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, or incapacitation.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the waivers were a sign the administration was secretly pursuing a broader deal with Iran to include more than the release of the detainees.
The waiver means that European, Middle Eastern, and Asian banks will not run afoul of US sanctions in converting the money frozen in South Korea and transferring it to Qatar’s central bank, where it will be held for Iran to use for the purchase of humanitarian goods.
Iran’s Ambassador to Doha Hamidreza Dehghani-Podeh announced that the implementation of the prisoner swap with the United States and the release of Iranian assets is in its final stages, Mehr news agency wrote.


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