Iran Says Frozen Assets in ROK, Jailed Citizens in U.S. To Be Released Soon

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Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that banks of the Republic of Korea (ROK) are unfreezing Iran’s assets, and a number of “illegally” jailed Iranians in the United States will be soon released.

The ministry said in a statement that the country’s funds “had been illegally frozen in the ROK’s banks for a few years by the United States,” adding that “Iran has obtained the necessary guarantees from the U.S. for its continued commitment to obligations in this regard.”

It is estimated that Iran has funds worth over 7 billion U.S. dollars in ROK’s two banks, which refuse to process them for fear of possible U.S. penalties.

In addition to the efforts to release the country’s “illegally” frozen assets, the ministry said it also works to realize “the freedom of a number of innocent Iranians, who have been illicitly arrested and imprisoned in the U.S. on the baseless accusation of bypassing the U.S. sanctions.”

Several of the Iranians jailed in the U.S. would soon be released, it said, adding that Iran still holds several American prisoners whose release is being pursued by the U.S. government.

Over the past months, Iran has repeatedly expressed its readiness to swap prisoners with the U.S. as a humanitarian issue under the precondition that the latter acts “realistically.”

In an interview with Al-Monitor published on June 14, Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Hamad al-Busaidi, whose country has been playing a mediatory role in the negotiations between Tehran and Washington, said he believed the two countries were nearing an agreement on exchanging prisoners.