WANA ( Aug 12) – Iran and the United States have been exchanging messages through the intermediaries of Oman and Qatar concerning the release of dual-citizen prisoners in Iran along with Iranians held in American prisons under allegations of evading sanctions over the past months.

 

 

The media in both countries lacked accurate information about the progress of negotiations regarding the prisoner exchange. It remained unclear what advances had been achieved in the talks or what concessions were intended to be swapped between the two sides.

 

Some American media outlets, such as the New York Times newspaper, announced on Thursday, August 10, that the United States and Iran have reached an agreement according to which, in exchange for the release of several Iranians imprisoned by the United States, Iran will also release the convicts of dual Iranian-American citizenships.

Officials from both Iran and America verified the general details of this news. As part of the agreement, it was decided that $6 billion from Iran’s long-blocked resources in South Korea, held illegally for years, would be released.

 

This news was officially published in Iranian media on August 11, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the authenticity of this news by issuing an official statement.

 

Before anything, the Iranian currency market responded to this news, resulting in a slight decrease in the dollar’s value. Both parties immediately declared that the process of transferring the funds to a Qatar-based account would take time.

Signboard of a currency exchange store showing the dollar rate (dropped) after Joe Biden wins the US elections, in Tehran, Iran November 8, 2020. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

Signboard of a currency exchange store showing the dollar rate (dropped) after Joe Biden wins the US elections, in Tehran, Iran November 8, 2020. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

Efforts to unfreeze Iran’s blocked funds in South Korea have been ongoing since the presidency of Hassan Rouhani. However, the diplomatic attempts of the prior government failed to bring this matter to a resolution.

 

The foreign minister at the time, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and his team struggled to persuade or force the Americans to lift the banking sanction, particularly concerning Iran’s blocked funds in South Korea.

 

Finally, the conservative government headed by Ebrahim Raisi was able to untie this knot after months of negotiations with the Americans. Whether Washington agreed to release Iran’s financial resources in Korea only in exchange for releasing its dual-citizen prisoners or whether other agreements are involved has not yet been clarified.

dual-citizen prisoners in Iran

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meets with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi in Tehran, Iran, March 4, 2023. Iran’s President Website/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

The opposition’s voice against this agreement has been louder within the United States than its supporters. Mike Pence, the first vice president of the Trump administration, called this agreement “a huge ransom for the Iranians,” and Pompeo, who is a long-standing enemy of Iran, in a quick reaction, called the release of Iranian funds a “terrible deal.”

 

The Conservative party in Iran considers this victory due to resistance against the unreasonable demands of the United States and supports the policy of its seated government in this regard, but the reformist party seems to be disappointed and upset to a large extent. They expected that America would give this concession to their government to gain more influence inside Iran.

 

The Americans have practically given no concessions to the aligned government in Iran, which is more inclined towards the West than the East.

 

The pro-American faction inside Iran, known as the reform wing, has shown different reactions after this news was published in the media. Instead of being angry with America for refusing to make such an agreement before, during the reformist’s government, they mock this achievement of the conservative government in cyberspace and call it small or problematic.

dual-citizen prisoners in Iran

Hasan Rouhani, The former president of Iran / WANA News Agency

 

Claims asserting that Iran lacks access to these assets or that the funds can only be used for purchasing food, medicine, and medical equipment are mere perceptions that authorities have dismissed.

 

This virtual propaganda on the verge of the parliamentary elections in Iran was created so that the supporters of the reformist party would not be disappointed by the performance of their leaders, and this deal and other diplomatic achievements would not lead to the victory of their rival in the upcoming elections.

 

‚Äč However, the realities within Iran remain unaffected by the desires of Western and American proponents. The truth is that despite their claims, former foreign minister Dr. Zarif and former president Hassan Rouhani could not secure the release of Iran’s assets in South Korea.

 

 

Undoubtedly, this success will be marked in the political record of Mr. Raisi’s government.