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Politics
2023-September-19  10:45

Tehran: US Policy in Barring Iran's Access to Its Assets Abroad Illegal

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Foreign Ministry deemed Washington's policy in blocking Tehran's free and legitimate access to its financial resources in other states as illegal and inhumane, slamming certain countries for their unjustified actions in consenting to the unlawful demands of the US governments.

The foreign ministry in a Monday statement lashed out at different US administrations for preventing Iran from access to its funds in other countries, describing the move as both "illegal and inhumane".

The statement was issued hours after Iran released five American citizens as part of a Qatari-mediated prisoner swap deal with the United States, which also freed five Iranians. The agreement between Tehran and Washington, first made public on August 10, included the release of about $6bln of frozen Iranian money.

The statement also took to task those countries that gave in to US pressures and block Iran's foreign assets illegally, stressing that they must make up for the financial losses inflicted on Iran as a result of the long-term freezing of the country’s assets.

“The illegal move of the US to abuse the international banking system and put pressure on other countries to limit Iran's access to its assets does not in any way mean that the governments where these assets are kept have no responsibility in this regard,” the statement read.

“Those governments must be held to account for their unjustified move to comply with the illegal demands of the US government, the financial losses inflicted on Iran as a result of the long-term freezing of Iranian assets, and its humanitarian consequences, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," it added.

The statement stipulated that the unblocked funds “are under the control of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran and will be used at the discretion of relevant Iranian authorities and based on the country’s needs and priorities".

The foreign ministry concluded its statement by thanking the government of Qatar “for playing an effective role in transferring the assets of Iran and exchanging the prisoners”, while appreciating “the valuable efforts of the Sultanate of Oman to advance this process and also the Swiss government’s cooperation and assistance in facilitating all this".

The development comes as world leaders convene in New York for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi on Monday told senior American media managers the prisoner swap was purely carried out on humanitarian grounds.

Noting that the exchange of prisoners between Iran and the United States was a purely humanitarian measure, Rayeesi said, “Definitely, any step that is taken [by the United States] to fulfil their commitments will be confidence-building for us.”

He added that the unblocked funds belong to the Iranian people and would be used to meet their needs.

“I believe that if it the United States and some Western countries had not made the miscalculation [during last year’s unrest in Iran], this process [of exchanging prisoners] could have taken place earlier than this,” the Iranian president stressed.

Rayeesi will give an address in the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and meet other heads of state and other international figures on the sidelines. But Tehran has ruled out the possibility of any meeting between President Rayeesi and his American counterpart Joe Biden on the sideline of the summit.

Speaking during a weekly press briefing in late August about the likelihood of a meeting between Rayeesi and Biden in New York, Kana'ani stated "such a plan is not on the agenda".

Iranian officials have repeatedly ruled out holding direct talks with the United States, citing Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal that nullifies its membership of the agreement.

President Rayeesi has in mid-August described the US government as "untrustworthy", and further underlined that Tehran has never bowed out of negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal.

He reiterated Tehran’s position on multilateral negotiations to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, underscoring that Iran has the upper hand as a country that never left the agreement or the negotiations to revive it after the United States unilaterally withdrew.

However, the president continued, “We have not trusted them (the US) whatsoever and will never trust them.”

Iran's president made clear that his administration is pursuing a policy of “neutralizing” the sanctions while attending the talks aimed at lifting them.

“We’re reaching for that end with all our might because we’ve seen their breaches of promises,” Rayeesi stressed.