Iranian President says he’ll use $6B in funds for whatever he wants
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says his country will use $6 billion in unlocked funds ‘wherever we need it’ – rejecting a limitation in negotiations with the U.S. that limits the money to ‘humanitarian purposes.’ Raisi’s comments, in a sit-down with NBC News in Tehran, comes a day after the Biden administration announced the extraordinary deal that would free five detained Americans, while unlocking the funding for Tehran.
In the interview, Raisi told the network’s Lester Holt that the needs of the Iranian people would be determined ‘by the Iranian government,’ after being asked specifically if it would be for humanitarian purposes including food and medicine, in a country hit by crippling inflation amid economic sanctions.
‘This money belongs to the Islamic Republic of Iran , and naturally, we will decide – the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide – to spend it wherever we need it. How to spend our money of course, it is under the authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran,’ he said. Pressed by Holt that it could be used for ‘more than humanitarian purposes,’ he underlined: ‘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.’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week provided a waiver for Tehran to gain access to $6 billion in oil revenues that had been blocked by South Korean banks amid sanctions amid the prisoner exchange. The U.S. says a Qatari bank will oversee funds to ensure they go to humanitarian purposes. National Security spokesman Adrienne Watson said in a statement that ‘On September 8, Secretary Blinken undertook a procedural step in an ongoing process to ensure Iranian funds can move from one restricted account to another and remain restricted to humanitarian trade.’
State Department spokesman Matt Miller said the funds ‘can only be used for humanitarian purposes, and we will remain vigilant in watching the spending of those funds and have the ability to freeze them again if we need to.’ A senior Biden Administration official told NBC following the Iranian president’s remarks that the funds would be held at a bank in Qatar and that ‘each transaction will be monitored by U.S. Treasury — transaction by transaction.’ The official added: ‘It’s for humanitarian aid only.’
Raisi also said the five Americans who will be swapped for five Iranians imprisoned in the U.S. were in ‘full health.’ ‘They are very healthy and, according to our latest information, they are in full health,’ he said. The five U.S. citizens to be freed include Siamak Namazi (pictured), 51, Emad Sharqi, 59, and Morad Tahbaz, 67, a duel U.S.-U.K. national, as well as two unidentified U.S. citizens. Read the full story: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12512175/Iranian-president-laughs-Biden-administration-saying-hell-use-6-BILLION-hostage-deal-wants-not-just-humanitarian-trade-promised.html?ito=msngallery
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