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Iranian bank accounts in Qatar to process unblocked funds: Chief banker

Central Bank of Iran Governor Mohammad Reza Farzin

Central Bank of Iran Governor Mohammad Reza Farzin says that Iranian funds recently released in South Korea as part of a prisoner swap deal with the United States will be deposited to accounts held by Iranian banks in Qatar despite reports suggesting that Qatar’s central bank will have control over the funds.

Mohammad Reza Farzin said on Saturday that Iran can use the funds to purchase goods and products that are not subject to US sanctions.

“Soon all these euro resources will be deposited to accounts of six Iranian banks in Qatar and will be used for purchase of non-sanctioned commodities via bank payments,” said Farzin in a post on his social media account.

The statement came two days after Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the country had reached an initial agreement with the US on exchange of prisoners, adding that the deal also include the release of $6 billion worth of Iranian funds that had been blocked in South Korea for the past years because of US sanctions.

However, Iranian authorities have said that the prisoner swap deal with the US will only go through if the funds that have reportedly been transferred to a Swiss bank account are moved to designated bank accounts in Qatar.

Farzin’s Saturday statement contradicts remarks given by sources to US media on Thursday which indicated that Iran's funds will be transferred to an account held by the central bank of Qater.

He said “a third country” had accepted the costs of changing the funds, which were in South Korean currency won, to euro.

The chief banker said, however, that Iran had lost nearly $1 billion worth of its funds in South Korea over the past years because of won devaluation.

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