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Foreign Ministry: Release of South Korea-held Iranian funds underway

File photo shows the entrance to the Iranian Foreign Ministry's building in the capital Tehran.

Tehran has said that the process of release of $6 billion worth of Iran's funds that have been illegally blocked in South Korea under the pretext of US sanctions is underway.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry made the remarks in a statement on Thursday following the emergence of news across various media outlets that Iran and the US have reached a prisoner swap deal that also includes the release of Iranian funds. 

"Iran has received the necessary guarantee for the United States' commitment to its obligations in this regard," the statement said.

The ministry said that the release of the funds has always been on its agenda, adding the funds had been "illegally blocked" under the pretext of "overseas banks' concerns about America's oppressive sanctions." 

It is up to "the Islamic Republic and competent Iranian authorities" to determine the manner of application of the unfrozen funds, it said.

According to reports, the release of the funds has been agreed upon as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Tehran and Washington, in line with which each side would hand over several prisoners to the other.

The statement said that the ministry has, in addition to unfreezing of the funds, been pursuing the release of the Iranian prisoners as part of its "inherent duties."

It said the prisoners had been arrested and held across American jails "illegally and under the vain pretext of [their] bypassing of the US's oppressive sanctions."

"The release of the prisoners...will be realized soon," the statement noted, adding that the inmates identified for release by the US were still in the Islamic Republic.

Still, according to various reports, the release of the inmates is conditioned on the transfer of Iranian funds to accounts that have been designated by Iran.

Also on Thursday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri-Kani wrote a tweet confirming that the release of the funds was underway, adding that the pending freedom of the US-held Iranians was to take place "within the same framework."

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