Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe arriving in Oman after leaving Iran. March 16, 2022

Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe arriving in Oman after leaving Iran. March 16, 2022

£400m Funds Released By Britain Received, Being Used: Iran Central Bank

4/27/2022

Iran's Central Bank Governor said Wednesday Tehran has already received the £400 million paid by Britain before the release of two British-Iranian detainees and the funds are being used.

"We have already received the money paid by Britain and the funds are even being used," Ali Salehabadi, governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) told reporters. "Information on the [release of the] rest of [Iran's] blocked sums will gradually be provided. Generally, the work is progressing well," he said without any further details on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting Wednesday according to the official news agency IRNA.

Salehabadi made the remarks hours after a report by UK's The Guardian which quoted a senior Iranian government source as saying that the £400m was still blocked in Oman. The official told the Guardian that the problem was not with the UK government.

Speaking to Entekhab news website Sunday, Mahmoud Abbaszadeh-Meshkini, spokesman of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, had also said that Britain's £400m debt was "released at the source", adding that the transfer, presumably to an Omani bank, had not been problematic.

The important matter was to release the frozen money from the source country, Britain, he said, adding that he believed further stages -- meaning transferring the money to Iran from Oman – could not cause any problems.

Neither the CBI governor, nor Abbaszadeh-Meshkini, elaborated on the nature of the difficulties expected in repatriation of the funds from Oman which they only referred to as a "regional" or "neighboring" country.

"The extent of the hold-up is not clear, and it is unknown whether it is due to a banking problem in Oman or another issue, such as the limits set on the use of the money by the British," The Guardian wrote.

Britain owed the £400m ($530m) to Iran for 1,750 Chieftain tanks and other vehicles purchased before the Islamic Revolution of 1979 almost none of which were delivered.

On March 16, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that two British-Iranian dual nationals detained by Iran had been freed and would be returning home. Simultaneously, some Iranian state-affiliated media, including the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)-linked Fars news agency, reported that the two detainees had been freed in exchange for Britain's £400m historical debt to Iran.

The British and Iranian governments both claimed there was no connection between the debt and the case of detained individuals.

According to the Guardian, "one report" said only £1m of the money had been transferred to Tehran.

Muscat mediated for the release of the two UK detainees, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashouri, who were freed after the funds arrived in an Omani Bank.

The Guardian also said there had been speculation that London may be withholding full release of the funds because it believes Iran has not kept its side of the negotiated bargain that should have allowed a third detainee Morad Tahbaz indefinite leave from prison. He was briefly released and then returned to prison.

The UK Foreign Office has stressed that the payment, made on the condition that it would be used only for humanitarian purposes, “was made in full compliance with UK and international sanctions and all legal obligations”. Iranian officials have said that Tehran has "full control" on how to spend the funds without a mention of the conditions set by Britain.

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