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Tags: iran | prisoners | 6 billion | exchange

Iran President: Spending $6B 'Wherever We Need It'

By    |   Tuesday, 12 September 2023 10:31 AM EDT

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says his government will spend the $6 billion in previously frozen funds being released in exchange for five American prisoners "wherever we need it," even while U.S. officials insist the money is only to be spent on humanitarian needs.

"This money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money," Raisi said in an exclusive interview with NBC News' Lester Holt, according to an Iranian government translator.

He also said that the American prisoners are in "very healthy" condition and will be coming home soon.

The prisoners' families also do not agree with Raisi on their well-being, saying they have been subjected to mistreatment and lengthy questioning.

Siamak Namazi, one of the prisoners since 2015, said he was held in solitary confinement for the first 27 months of his imprisonment, and his brother, Babak Namazi, said he had been beaten.

The prisoner exchange arrangement allows Tehran access to $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues that had been blocked in South Korean banks after U.S. sanctions.

But with the agreement, officials say that Qatar's central bank is to oversee the funds, allowing Iran to only use the money for humanitarian reasons that are in accord with U.S. sanctions.

But Raisi said, "Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people need, so this money will be budgeted for those needs and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government."

The prisoner exchange also calls for five Iranians being held in the United States to be released.

As a first step in the arrangement, the American prisoners were put under house arrest on Aug. 10, with their release depending on the transfer of funds to Qatar's central bank.

On Monday, the Biden administration informed Congress that it had cleared the way for the exchange and issued a waiver that allows international banks to transfer the money to Qatar without any threat of U.S. sanctions.

Iran also rejects accusations from the United Nations and human rights groups that the Americans had been detained on false charges.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says his government will spend the $6 billion in previously frozen funds being released in exchange for five American prisoners "wherever we need it," even while U.S. officials insist the money is only to be spent on humanitarian needs.
iran, prisoners, 6 billion, exchange
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2023-31-12
Tuesday, 12 September 2023 10:31 AM
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