Media in Tehran say $7 billion of Iran's frozen funds in South Korea will be freed in exchange for the release of three American dual citizens held as hostages.
In an article titled “Releasing Iran’s blocked assets via non-nuclear means”, Farhikhtegan newspaper said on Thursday that Iran had been negotiating in parallel with the nuclear talks in Vienna to access its frozen assets. A similar report was published in Iran on Wednesday.
The article quoted an unnamed informed source as saying that Iran is set to release three dual Iranian-American prisoners -- Siamak Namazi, Bagher Namazi, and Morad Tahbaz -- in exchange for access to its blocked funds in two South Korean banks.
Tahbaz -- also a UK citizen – is an environmentalist who was jailed in 2018 on trumped-up espionage charges. Siamak Namazi, was jailed 2015, a year before his elderly father Bagher (Baquer) traveled to Iran to help him but was also detained on vague accusations, like his son who was accused of collaboration with a foreign country. The Namazi detentions took place while the nuclear deal with Iran was in effect. In 2016, Tehran released other hostages in exchange for funds frozen in the US.
According to the article, the assets will be released into Iranian accounts through channels similar to the framework agreed with Britain, in which, €470 million was paid by the UK in exchange for the release of two British Iranians -- Nazanon Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashuri in March.