“[Os fundos] They are not in Qatar yet. I don’t want to talk about what stage of the process they are at, other than to say that they are in the process of being transferred. And I don’t want to set a timetable,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller at a press conference.
The authorization granted by the North American authorities for the transfer of these funds, arising from debts incurred in the purchase of gas, was communicated to Congress this Monday and is part of a plan to release five North Americans detained in Iran.
“Difficult decisions must be made when it comes to bringing back American citizens, but the President [Joe Biden] and the Secretary of State [Antony Blinken] decided the first priority was to bring them back,” Miller highlighted.
The funds are being transferred from South Korean banks to Switzerland to exchange Korean currency for euros and will subsequently be sent to various accounts in Qatar, which acted as mediator.
The authorization by Washington means that foreign banks will not violate US sanctions by transferring these frozen funds, which Iran can only use for humanitarian purposes.
Tehran, however, stressed this Monday that it has the possibility of purchasing “any good not sanctioned” by the United States, and “fully using the released funds”, not just to buy “medicine and food”.
Miller recalled that Iran is not a country with which the United States has a relationship of trust and therefore stressed that they will follow the process “very closely”.
The official also refused to speculate on the possibility of Iran using this money to finance the war in Ukraine, in support of Moscow.
“We remain concerned about all destabilizing activities and will continue to monitor and take steps to limit these activities in the coming months and years,” he added.
The spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Naser Kananí, expressed optimism this Monday about the prisoner exchange, which he said would take place “in the near future”, after the transfer of 5.6 billion euros has been completed.
“For planning purposes, no movement should be expected regarding the release of the Americans this week,” concluded Miller, at the press conference in Washington.
Read Also: Iran identifies prisoners it hopes to be released in exchange with the US
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