US-Iran prisoner swap set to happen early next week: report

The US and Iran are set to exchange prisoners as early as Monday under an agreement recently reached between the countries, media outlets cited people familiar with the matter.

The people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations, said the exact date of the swap isn’t yet set but it’s likely to be on Sept. 18, a day before world leaders convene in New York for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Bloomberg reported.

In his weekly presser on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kan'ani cited that Tehran is optimistic that the exchange of prisoners will take place in the near future.

Meanwhile, a senior Iranian businessman has revealed that the country will soon have access to another chunk of its funds that have been blocked in banks in other countries because of US sanctions.

The remarks came hours after media reports said the United States had cleared the way for the transfer of some $6 billion worth of Iranian funds from Switzerland to Qatar where the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) can access them for purchase of non-sanctioned goods.

The funds being released to six bank accounts in Qatar had remained inaccessible in South Korea for nearly five years because of US sanctions and Iran has won their release under a prisoner exchange deal with the US.

Iranian officials indicated last month after reports about the release of funds in South Korea that Tehran has no more blocked funds in other countries.

A senior diplomat in the Iranian foreign ministry said in late August that Tehran can now access tens of billions of its funds in banks in countries like Iraq and China.

Iran has more than $10 billion worth of funds in the Trade bank of Iraq where they have been deposited to settle payments related to imports of natural gas and electricity from Iran

News ID 196062

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