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Iran has no more funds blocked abroad over sanctions: Deputy FM

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani

Iran has no more blocked funds in other countries because of US sanctions after funds frozen in banks in South Korea and Iraq were released under an understanding with Washington, according to a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani said in remarks published on Thursday that Iran now has full control over its assets in other countries and can transfer them between foreign banks by means of its choosing.

Bagheri said an emerging prisoner exchange deal with the US that allows the release of $6 billion worth of Iranian funds in South Korea also includes an understanding about the release of Iranian funds held in Iraq.

“The (issue of) funds in Iraq was also raised in the understanding reached with the Americans and the process for their release has also started,” the diplomat was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

He said Iran has already taken control of a significant amount of its funds in Iraq.

However, Bagheri said Iran has chosen to keep some other funds in certain countries to use them for trade exchanges with those nations or with third parties.

“We have no more blocked funds ... we receive the interest of the funds (held abroad) and use them for exchanges with countries and even transfer them to other areas for (financing) our purchases,” said Bagheri.

The remarks come two weeks after Iran and the United States confirmed they had reached a deal to exchange prisoners and to secure the release of Iranian funds that had remained blocked in two South Korean banks since 2018 because of US pressure on Seoul.

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