Iranian assets currently frozen in Korean banks will not go to Iran, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday, dismissing concerns that the money could be used to advance the Middle Eastern country’s illegal weapons program.
The U.S. said earlier that it was in negotiations with Tehran to transfer the frozen funds from Korean banks to a special account in Qatar in exchange for the release of five U.S. citizens currently detained in Iran.
“First of all, we are not sending $6 billion to Iran,” Sullivan said when asked about the Iranian assets in Korea in a virtual press briefing.
“We are transferring funds from one restricted account outside of Iran to another restricted account outside of Iran to operate under supervision to ensure that those funds are spent non-sanctionable transactions,” he added.
His remarks come amid concerns that the money, once released, could be used to support terrorist activities or fund Iran’s illicit nuclear program.
Vedant Patel, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, has said the money will only be used for humanitarian purposes under “full U.S. visibility” if released.
“These funds have been available to Iran to use for humanitarian transactions, like food and medicine,” Patel said earlier. “Iran’s accounts in other countries have been used to purchase humanitarian goods and services and to conduct other non-sanctionable transactions, and this money, as we continue to move along the process and have these negotiations and discussions, any kinds of funds that move will be subject to the same rigorous restrictions.”
Source: The Korea Times