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Top Official Claims Part Of Iran's 'Blocked' Funds Are Freed To Be Used For Imports

Mahmoud Vaezi. Undated. FILE PHOTO
Mahmoud Vaezi. Undated. FILE PHOTO

President Hassan Rouhani's Chief of Staff announced July 21 the "release of blocked Iranian financial assets" in some countries and maintained that these resources would be used for international payments.

The official government news website, IRNA, cited Mahmoud Vaezi as saying, "The released assets will be used for addressing the concerns and problems of importers." In other words, foreign currency will be made available for imports.

However, he has stopped short of referring to the amounts released or the countries that had “blocked” Iran's "assets."

Most of Iran’s money in foreign countries is not actually frozen by any government but impossible to transfer due to U.S. banking sanctions. If Vaezi’s statement is true, it means the United States must have agreed for some banks to transfer money to Iran’s central bank.

Vaezi’s claim has not been confirmed by the U.S. or other governments and foreign banks.

However, the chairman of Iran's Red Crescent Society announced July 20 that that the United States has allowed the launch of a financial channel for transfer of international humanitarian aid to Iran. It is not clear if both officials spoke about the same development.

Lack of dollars and other major currencies in recent months have led to a a steep devaluation of Iran’s currency. The central bank was forced to pump $300 million into the market on July 18 and 19 to prevent a further drop of the national currency.

Vaezi described the recent "turmoil in Iran's currency market" as a "psychological and sensational war imposed" on the Islamic Republic.

Several "war rooms" are active in creating the turmoil, Vaezi claimed, naming Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and Sulaymaniyah, in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan, as two main centers of directing the currency war against Tehran.

Opponents of the Rouhani administration believe that recent fluctuations in the local exchange market is merely a ploy to generate income for the government which is facing a huge budget deficit.

Responding to the critics, the Governor of the CBI, Abdol Nasser Hemmati, dismisses such intention, maintaining that opponents' allegation is unfounded.