U.S.-Iran detainee swap deal to go ahead on Monday, says Tehran
Tehran said a deal with its arch foe the United States to unfreeze Iranian funds worth $6 billion then swap five detainees each would go ahead on Monday after months of talks mediated by Qatar.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said the funds frozen in South Korea would be in Iran's possession on Monday, which would trigger the swap of five U.S. citizens detained in Iran for five Iranians held in the U.S.
Under the carefully choreographed deal, the five Americans, all of whom have dual nationality, are expected to leave Tehran and head to Qatar's capital Doha and then from there fly to the United States, sources previously told Reuters.
In return, the five Iranians in the U.S. will be released so they can travel to Iran. However, Iranian officials and Iran's state news agency have said one of those detainees is expected to remain in the United States.
The deal, first made public on August 10, will remove a major irritant between Washington and Tehran, although the two sides remain deeply at odds over issues ranging from Iran's nuclear ambitions and its influence around the region to U.S. sanctions and America's military presence in the Gulf.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry had said on Monday it was working with all parties on the deal "to ensure smooth progress of all procedures so that it will be resolved once and for all."
(Cover: Iran's delegation, front left, and the US delegation, front row rear, rise as judges take their seats at the International Court of Justice, the United Nations' top court, which issued its judgment in a dispute between Iran and the United States over frozen Iranian state bank accounts worth some $2 billion, in The Hague, Netherlands, March 30, 2023.)