The Biden Administration plans to release $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue as part of an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Iran and help restore the Iran Nuclear Deal. This move comes after Iran lost access to tens of billions of dollars in revenue when the Trump Administration withdrew from the deal.
According to reports from the Financial Times, the Biden Administration intends to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian oil funds and release five Iranian prisoners. This action aims to ease the tension between the two countries. Iran recently transferred five American prisoners from Evin prison to house arrest, signaling a possible prisoner exchange once $6 billion is available to Iran, which is currently held by South Korea.
A State Department official said the United States had agreed to transfer funds from South Korea to restricted accounts in Qatar, which would allow the release of Iranian prisoners as a reciprocal gesture for the release of Americans. citizen detained in Iran.
However, it is important to note that US officials have stated that oil funds will only be allowed for the purchase of humanitarian goods. The freezing of these assets occurred in 2018 when the Trump Administration withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal, depriving Iran of access to billions of dollars in oil revenues held by various central that bank.
President Joe Biden has made restoring the Iran Nuclear Deal a key foreign policy goal. The agreement, signed in 2015, aims to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons development in exchange for easing sanctions. While progress on this front has been slow, the exchange of prisoners may help reduce tensions enough to promote dialogue in the program.
Congress was formally notified of this planned transaction on Monday, and Biden officials are expected to update lawmakers on the details later this week. Although the identities of the Iranian detainees involved in the exchange have not been released, the American citizens detained in Iran include Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi and Siamak Namazi.