Iran is optimistic a prisoner swap with Washington will happen “in the near future”, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday, adding that Tehran’s frozen $6 billion assets in South Korea will be unblocked in the coming days.
However, Nasser Kanaani said the two issues were not linked to one another.
“Anyway we (Iran) are optimistic that the prisoner swap (with America) will happen in the near future based on the agreement we had,” Kanaani said.
“The issue of unblocking financial assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the issue of exchanging prisoners (between Iran and the U.S.) are naturally two separate issues,” he added.
Sources told Reuters last week that the transfer of Iranian funds to banks in Qatar as early as this week will trigger a carefully choreographed sequence that will see as many as five detained U.S. dual nationals leave Iran and a similar number of Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. fly home.
As a first step, Iran on Aug. 10 released four U.S. citizens from Tehran’s Evin prison into house arrest, where they joined a fifth, who was already under house arrest. Later that day U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the move the first step of a process that would lead to their return home.