The United States has waived sanctions to enable the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar, a crucial move to facilitate a pre-announced U.S.-Iran prisoner exchange, as revealed in a U.S. document reported by Reuters on Monday.
On August 10, the U.S.-Iran deal was revealed, allowing five detained U.S. citizens in Iran to depart in exchange for releasing five Iranians held in the United States and transferring funds.
According to a State Department document obtained by Reuters, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has deemed waiving the sanctions as being in the national security interest of the United States. This marks the first formal acknowledgement by the U.S. government of releasing five Iranians detained in the U.S. as part of the agreement to secure the freedom of five U.S. citizens.
“To facilitate their release, the United States has committed to release five Iranian nationals currently detained in the United States and to permit the transfer of approximately $6 billion in Iranian funds held in restricted accounts in the (Republic of Korea) to restricted accounts in Qatar, where the funds will be available only for humanitarian trade,” it said.
According to eight sources familiar with the negotiations, a transfer of $6 billion and a prisoner exchange could occur as soon as next week, as reported by Reuters.
The waiver pertains to specific financial institutions primarily under the jurisdiction of Germany, Ireland, Qatar, South Korea, and Switzerland. It allows these institutions to conduct transactions with entities like the National Iranian Oil Company, the Central Bank of Iran, and other Iranian financial institutions subject to U.S. sanctions.
This exemption enables these select financial institutions in the mentioned countries to engage in transactions that would otherwise be restricted under U.S. sanctions, facilitating economic interactions with Iran.