Raeisi, who is in New York to take part in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, made the remarks while speaking to senior American media managers on Monday after Iran and the US implemented a Doha-mediated prisoner swap deal.
Noting that the exchange of prisoners between Iran and the United States was a purely humanitarian measure, Iran's president said, “Definitely, any step that is taken [by the United States] to fulfil their commitments will be confidence-building for us.”
Raeisi told NBC that the released funds, which he said had been cruelly blocked and are now in possession of Iran, belong to the Iranian people and would be used to meet their needs.
After two years of high-stakes negotiations, Iran and the US agreed to free prisoners as part of a deal that also included the release of billions of Iranian assets illegally frozen in South Korea.
The funds, owed to Iran for exports of oil and gas, had been frozen in South Korean bank accounts since 2018 after the administration of then-President Donald Trump pulled the US from a landmark nuclear deal with Iran, further aggravating tensions with Tehran.
On Monday, Iran and the US freed 10 prisoners -- five Iranians and five Americans -- after the US government unblocked the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds held in South Korea.
The plane carrying two of the five released Iranians landed in Tehran on Monday evening. Mehrdad Moein Ansari and Reza Sarhangpour arrived in Tehran after departing from the Qatari capital of Doha earlier in the day.
The three other released Iranians are not returning to Iran, with two staying in the US and one going to a third country to join his family.
Five American prisoners, who were flown out of Iran earlier in the day as part of the swap deal, also left mediator Qatar for the United States.
Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Mohammad Reza Farzin on Monday confirmed that the Islamic Republic’s funds were transferred to Iranian bank accounts in Qatar.
He said 5.573 billion euros had been deposited into the accounts of six Iranian banks in Qatar’s Al Ahli and Al Dukhan banks.
“Foreign intervention cause of regional problems”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Raeisi described promotion of relations with Iran's neighbors as one of his administration's pivotal policies, stressing that “the main reason behind some problems in the regional countries’ relations has been foreign intervention, especially by the United States.”
"The US presence in the region will never create security, just in the same way that normalization of relations with some Arab countries by the Zionist regime will not bring security to this regime," he added.
Source: Press TV#Iran #US #Prisoner Swap 23-09-20
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