A prisoner swap between the US and Iran is set to happen next week, possibly on September 18, on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
The exchange is viewed as a preliminary step towards initiating fresh discussions aimed at reinstating limitations on Iran's nuclear program, reported Bloomberg.
As part of the agreement, the United States is also allowing Iran to access $6 billion in previously frozen funds held in South Korea.
The move by President Joe Biden's administration has drawn criticism, with some arguing that it may encourage further hostage-taking incidents.
In response, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson emphasized that the primary objective is the release of five Americans who are “wrongfully” detained, emphasizing that this remains an ongoing and sensitive process. She clarified that no individuals will be transferred into US custody this week.
The Biden administration has refuted Iran's assertions that there will be no restrictions on the $6 billion in oil sales proceeds, asserting that the funds are earmarked exclusively for humanitarian purposes.
In support of the pending prisoner swap involving five Americans and five Iranians, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has informed Congress about a waiver ensuring that German, Irish, Qatari, South Korean, and Swiss banks can facilitate the transfer of the $6 billion from South Korea without violating US sanctions.