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Iran will soon have access to a large portion of its foreign currency frozen in foreign banks under U.S. sanctions, an Iranian media outlet reports.
The official Iranian news agency IRNA, citing an informed but unidentified source, has announced that "a significant part of Iran's frozen foreign currency resources will be released under a new agreement."
The report specifies that the funds will be several times larger than a payment of some $512 million that the UK made to Iran last month to settle an earlier debt.
In doing so, it stresses that this is a new deal, separate from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and is the second major currency opening in recent weeks.
Iran has tens of billions of dollars in funds in foreign banks that it cannot access due to sanctions that the United States reinstated against the Persian country following its unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018.
Most of the funds are seized in banks in South Korea, Iraq, China, Japan, and India under the excuse of abiding by U.S. sanctions.
Sources close to the Iranian government had already reported in November the release of $3.5 billion of these funds without giving further details on the name of the country where they are being held.
However, subsequent statements suggested that the assets may have been unfrozen by the Iraq Bank of Commerce, where the Baghdad government has deposited payments related to natural gas and electricity imports from Iran in recent years.
The report comes as talks in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal are on hold due to indecision and excessive demands by the United States, the Iranian side charges.
Tehran emphasizes that the ball is in Washington's court and assures that an agreement can be reached in the short term if the U.S. returns to Vienna with the necessary determination regarding the elimination of the embargoes reimposed against Iran.