The United States has issued a sanctions waiver to allow some $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets to be transferred from South Korea to Qatar as part of a US-Iran prisoner swap, multiple news agencies reported.
AP reported that Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed the blanket waiver for international banks to unfreeze the Iranian assets in South Korea last week. Congress was notified of the move on September 11.
As part of the deal, the US administration agreed to release five Iranian citizens held in the United States in exchange for five US-Iranian dual citizens detained in Iran.
Last month, Iranian and US officials said four Americans had been released from Tehran’s Evin prison into house arrest as part of a larger deal involving Iranian assets frozen in South Korea. The fifth detainee had already been under house arrest.
Iranian officials said the five Americans would remain in Iran until all conditions were met.
Only three of them were identified: Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz.
The identities of the five Iranians to be released by the United States have not been disclosed.
The waiver means that banks will not run afoul of US sanctions in converting the Iranian money frozen in South Korea and transferring it to Qatar’s central bank, where it will be held for Tehran to use for the purchase of humanitarian goods.