Iran and the United States will exchange prisoners on Monday after some USD 6 billion once frozen in South Korea reached Qatar, a key element of the planned swap, officials said. The planned exchange comes just ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where Iran's hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi will speak.
However, the swap won't mean that tensions have been lowered between the US and Iran, which now enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani was the first to acknowledge the swap would take place Monday. He said the cash sought for the exchange was now in Qatar.
An individual with direct knowledge of the deal, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity given the exchange had yet to be concluded, later said that both Iranian and US officials had been notified by Qatar that the money had been transferred from Switzerland into the Gulf Arab nation.
Kanaani made his comments during a news conference aired on state television, but the feed cut immediately after his remarks without explanation.
«We witnessed freezing of parts Iranian assets in some countries including South Korea,» Kanaani said.
«As part of our policy of active foreign diplomacy, fortunately Iran's frozen assets in South Korea were released and God willing today the assets will start to be fully controlled by the government and the nation.»
«On the subject of the prisoner swap, it will happen today and five prisoners, citizens of the Islamic Republic, will be released from the prisons in the US,» Kanaani added.
«Five imprisoned citizens who were in Iran will be given to the US side reciprocally, based on their will. We expect these two issues fully take place