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Iran to release 3 Americans in exchange for funds in South Korea

April 9, 2022 at 1:15 pm

Siamak Namazi, Bagher Namazi [Twitter]

An Iranian newspaper reported that Iranian funds frozen in South Korea would be released in exchange for three US citizens of Iranian origin.

On Friday, Entekhab newspaper reported: “Three dual-citizen spies will be released in exchange for Iran regaining its frozen funds in Korea, amounting to $7 billion.”

The three individuals expected to be released are Siamak Namazi, Bagher Namazi and Morad Tahbaz.

Relations between Iran and South Korea are tense due to $7 billion in Iranian funds being frozen in two Korean banks due to US sanctions re-imposed after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the historic nuclear deal with Iran in 2018.

Iran’s IRNA news agency quoted an “informed official” on Thursday, affirming that a considerable amount of Iran’s frozen assets will be released soon.

READ: Iran nuclear deal draft puts prisoners, enrichment, cash first; oil comes later

The Iranian source confirmed that the release of these funds comes as part of a new agreement outside of the nuclear agreement.

Last month, €470 million in the UK were released by an agreement to repay this old debt to Iran in exchange for the latter’s release of two imprisoned dual citizens, journalist Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anousheh Ashouri.

Iran has not announced the size of its funds abroad, which countries with business relations with Iran have frozen due to US sanctions and pressures.

These funds are originally revenues from oil exports over the past years after signing the nuclear deal in 2015.

However, media reports estimate these funds at about $140 billion: $5 billion in Iraq, $3 billion in Japan and $7 billion in South Korea.