Iran confirms $6 billion to be unfrozen, US and Iran to swap detainees

Tehran officially confirmed on Monday (September 18) that a long-negotiated agreement with the United States involving the unfreezing of Iranian assets worth $6 billion, followed by the exchange of five detainees from each side, is set to proceed. This breakthrough comes after months of negotiations mediated by Qatar.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanaani, announced that the funds, previously frozen in South Korea, would be released and returned to Iran’s possession on Monday. This development paves the way for the exchange of five U.S. citizens currently detained in Iran for five Iranians held in the United States.

As part of this meticulously coordinated agreement, the five American detainees, each with dual nationality, are expected to depart from Tehran, head to Doha, Qatar’s capital, and subsequently fly to the United States, according to sources previously cited by Reuters.

In return, five Iranians detained in the United States will be released. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson specified that two of them would return to Iran, while two others would opt to remain in the United States upon their request. One of the detainees is slated to reunite with their family in a third country, he added.

As an initial step in the accord, Washington has waived sanctions to facilitate the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian assets from South Korea to Qatar. These funds had been frozen in South Korea, traditionally one of Iran’s major oil customers, due to stringent financial sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran, preventing the funds from being transferred.

Under the terms of the agreement, Doha has agreed to oversee the allocation of the unfrozen funds, ensuring that they are earmarked for non-sanctioned humanitarian goods, such as food and medicine.