Iran's Raisi says funds released by US will be used to enhance domestic production

Previously frozen $6 billion is in return for Tehran releasing four US citizens from Evin prison

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday said unfrozen Iranian funds will be used on 'projects with economic justification in the field of development'. AP
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Iran's released funds abroad will be used to "enhance domestic production", President Ebrahim Raisi has said.

Last week, four US citizens were released from Evin prison near Tehran into house arrest. In return, the regime was told $6 billion of Iranian assets in South Korea would be unfrozen and sent to an account in Qatar that Iran could access.

The funds were frozen in September 2019 after the Trump administration pulled sanctions waivers on countries importing Iranian oil.

Iran earlier said the funds had been changed from South Korean won into euros in a bank in Switzerland and were ready to be transferred to a Qatar Central Bank account.

"Today, the important issue regarding these resources is how to spend them," Mr Raisi said in a report by the semi-official news agency Isna. "All these resources should be spent in support of production and projects with economic justification in the field of development."

He warned officials against corruption, asking them to monitor in case of misappropriation of funds and the formation of "unhealthy relationships, partisanship and bribery".

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would not provide Iran with sanctions relief and the funds could be used only for humanitarian purposes.

Iran's economy has managed to recover post-pandemic, with more activity in the oil sector, a World Bank report said in October.

"Economic activity has also adjusted to sanctions, including through exchange-rate depreciation which helped domestically produced tradable goods to become price competitive internationally," it said.

Updated: August 17, 2023, 7:42 AM