"The U.S. prisoners in Iran will leave simultaneously with the irreversible release of our illegally held citizens and the full transfer of illegally held assets in South Korea, similar to the recently freed assets in Iraq," Mohammad Jamshidi, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's deputy chief of staff for political affairs, said.
The prisoner swap and unfreezing of assets were announced on Thursday night. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the country's funds "had been illegally frozen in the ROK's banks for a few years by the United States," adding that "Iran has obtained the necessary guarantees from the U.S. for its continued commitment to obligations in this regard."
It is estimated that Iran has funds worth over US$7 billion in ROK's two banks, which refuse to process them for fear of possible U.S. penalties.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian states that his country is prepared to swap prisoners with the United States pic.twitter.com/po6le21SLM
On Thursday, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said that Washington had received confirmation about the release of the "unjustly detained Americans," whose number she put at five, in Iran.
In remarks at a press conference on the same day, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that there would be no sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for the release of the Americans.
Iranian authorities say the Americans were arrested and jailed on spying charges. Over the past months, Iran has repeatedly expressed its readiness to swap prisoners with the United States as a humanitarian issue under the precondition that the latter acts "realistically."