Iran asked U.S. to unfreeze $10 billion to show goodwill

Iran asked U.S. to unfreeze $10 billion to show goodwill

Iran’s foreign minister said on Saturday that US officials sought to begin nuclear negotiations last month, but that as a demonstration of good faith, Washington must first return $10 billion of Tehran’s blocked cash.

Iran has refused direct discussions with the US, and in June, indirect talks on renewing a 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons came to a halt.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said state television that the US employed intermediaries at the United Nations last month to try to establish contact.

Due to US restrictions on Iran’s financial and energy sectors, the country has been unable to deposit tens of billions of dollars in international institutions, mostly from oil and gas exports.

“The Americans attempted to reach us via various routes (at the United Nations General Assembly in New York), and I informed the mediators that if America’s intentions are genuine, then a strong indication was needed… by releasing at least $10 billion in frozen money,” the minister added.

“They are not willing to release $10 billion that belongs to the Iranian country so that we can declare that the Americans once regarded the interests of the Iranian nation in the last many decades,” Amirabdollahian stated in a TV interview.

Western nations have encouraged Iran to resume talks, claiming that time is running out since Tehran’s nuclear program is progressing well beyond the agreement’s boundaries.

Amirabdollahian said Iran will return to the delayed nuclear negotiations in Vienna “soon,” but he didn’t say when.

Tehran claims that its nuclear moves may be reversed if the US eliminates all sanctions. Many concerns must be overcome, according to Iranian and Western officials, before the agreement can be resurrected.

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