State Department Spokesperson Ned Price has affirmed that there has been no change to the US sanctions regime. Price’s remarks follow claims made in Tehran that billions of dollars of Iranian funds, frozen because of US sanctions, were about to be released. His statement constitutes a decisive rebuttal of the Iranian claims.
Iranian Claims that Frozen Funds Will Be Released
On Monday, Tasnim News Agency, the official media outlet of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reported that “a high-ranking regional official will visit Tehran” on Tuesday “to finalize arrangements for the release of $7 billion” in Iranian assets, which would be transferred to an official Iranian account in the Central Bank of Oman.
The Tasnim report seemed to suggest that South Korea was the country that would release the Iranian assets, although it fell short of saying so explicitly.
On Wednesday, the day after the supposed visit of the high-ranking regional official, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that an agreement had been reached with a “foreign bank” to release Iranian funds. However, he did not identify which foreign bank was involved or which country it was located.
Decisive US Rebuttal of Iranian Claims
On Thursday, however, Price very decisively and unambiguously rebutted those Iranian claims.
“All of our sanctions remain in effect and all of our sanctions will remain in effect until and unless we’re able to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA [Iranian nuclear deal],” Price said. “It’s been very unfortunate to see a number of stories that are false, that are completely untrue.”
“Reports that Iranian funds held in restricted accounts in third countries would be transferred, are false, and our partners have not released these restricted funds to Iran, nor has the United States authorized or approved any such transfer of restricted funds to Iran,” he added.
Price also complained that some reports had conflated the supposed release of Iranian funds to the question of Americans illegally detained by the Iranian regime, raising “false claims of a detainee deal.”
Price affirmed that “there are two parallel” sets of discussions with Iran. One involves the nuclear talks in Vienna—which have been suspended since March 11. The second involves “four US citizens who are unjustly held in Iran.”
The four are all Iranian-Americans, who naively returned to their homeland —where they were arrested and jailed: Baquer and Siamak Namazi; Emad Shargi; and Morad Tahbaz.
Not for nothing does the US call Iran a terrorist state. The State Department’s human rights report, issued earlier this week, detailed how Iranian intelligence actually kidnapped Iranian dissidents abroad—and brought them to Iran to be imprisoned and even executed. There was even an attempted kidnapping of an Iranian-American journalist in New York—for which four Iranian intelligence agents were indicted.
Iranian Threats follow US Refusal to Delist IRGC as a Terrorist Organization
Over the past two weeks, the US has twice affirmed that it will not accede to the latest Iranian demand in the negotiations in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal, “even though this may be a deal-breaker,” as The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported last week.
Price said the same on Wednesday, while his deputy had stated that last Friday.
On Thursday, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, head of the IRGC’s Qods Forces, responded to the US position with a vow to continue supporting militias across the Middle East because of the US commitment to its designation of the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), the Financial Times reported.
The US “and the Zionists should know that this path is our definite path,” Ghaani affirmed. “The Islamic revolution knows how to guide young motivated Muslims to defend themselves,” he said, adding that all Islamic militias would “undoubtedly” enjoy Iran’s support, the Times reported.
As the British paper noted, Iran “has established a network of proxies across the region, creating an unprecedented swath of influence that stretches from the Gulf to the Mediterranean notably in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Palestine.”
Source » kurdistan24