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US Pledges to Police Use of Iranian Funds Unfrozen in Prisoner Swap

The United States said Tuesday it will vigilantly watch how Iran spends $6 billion in funds unfrozen as part of a prisoner swap deal, after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said it is up to Iran to decide how the money is used.

“The criteria is that these funds, when they are deposited in these accounts, can only be spent for humanitarian purposes, so the purchase of food, the purchase of medicine, the purchase of other humanitarian products,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.  “The Treasury Department has strict oversight over the use of those funds. We have visibility into how they are used, and we have the ability to police their use.”

In an interview with Lester Holt on NBC News earlier Tuesday, Raisi said that the money belongs to Iran and that “Iran will decide to spend it wherever we need it.”

“Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people need, so this money will be budgeted for those needs, and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided by the Iranian government,” Raisi said through an Iranian government-provided translator.

The Iranian funds were frozen under U.S. sanctions and are being transferred from accounts in South Korea to accounts in Qatar.

Raisi told NBC News that the five Americans due to be released are in good health, and that the final swap “should be finalized in due time.”

The U.S. has said the prisoners were unjustly detained.  The State Department identified three of them: Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharqi and Morad Tahbaz.

The United States will also free five Iranians as part of the agreement.

Some information for this report came from Reuters


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