Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Five US citizens detained in Iran are ‘in full health,’ says Raisi.

WASHINGTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Five U.S. citizens detained in Iran who are expected to be swapped for five Iranians imprisoned in the United States as early as next week are “in full health,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Tuesday.

As part of the prisoner swap deal first made public on Aug. 10, the United States has agreed to the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds from South Korean to Qatari accounts, where they can be spent only on humanitarian goods.

The United States said it will have “oversight” on how and when the funds will be spent.

“The money 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,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Tuesday.

Allowing the five Iranian Americans to leave Iran would remove a major irritant between Washington and Tehran, which remain at odds on issues from the Iranian nuclear program to Tehran’s support for regional Shi’ite militias.

“They are very healthy and, according to our latest information, they are in full health,” Raisi told Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News in an interview taped in Tehran on Tuesday, the U.S. television network said. …