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Iran to access now-unfrozen funds transferred into Qatari banks

Banking operations has already been initiated as billions of Iranian money has been shifted to Qatari banks.

Iran and Qatar have officially commenced banking operations to facilitate the transfer of recently unfrozen Iranian assets into Qatari banks, following a major Qatari-brokered deal between Washington and Tehran.

Iran’s Central Bank governor, Mohammad Reza Farzin, and his Qatari counterpart, Bandar bin Mohamed Al Thani met in Doha on Wednesday to facilitate the financial transition and explore avenues for enhancing bilateral financial and banking relations, Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

“According to the agreements, all payments were made by brokers of Qatari banks and SWIFT, Frazin said,” IRNA reported.

The two sides also highlighted the importance of bolstering financial and banking cooperation between their countries, according to Qatar News Agency.

The Iranian funds, which were previously held in South Korean banks, amount to approximately $6 billion and have now been successfully relocated to six Iranian accounts situated within two Qatari banks, reports said.

It comes after Qatar successfully landed a historic prisoner exchange deal between the long-standing American and Iranian adversaries last week. The two sides saw a total of ten prisoners swapped, with each side releasing five.

In extensive negotiations that spanned a year, Doha played a pivotal role as the primary mediator in talks between Tehran and Washington to facilitate the complex process.

The deal was a culmination of what many labelled as heavy ‘shuttle diplomacy’ by Qatar as it raced back and forth between officials from the Islamic Republic and the US.

Qatar’s confirmed receipt of the funds triggered the prisoner swap at Doha airport on 18 September afternoon. Now, the Gulf state is responsible for supervising the allocation and utilisation of these funds.

The deal was widely deemed to be a major diplomatic win for Qatar, which has stepped up as a powerful mediator in recent years.

When asked if this breakthrough could signify a potential reconciliation in Iran-US relations, Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who is also the Gulf nation’s foreign minister responded, saying: “I cannot claim that this will lead to a nuclear deal, but it’s going definitely to lead to a better environment.”

“What happened yesterday [18 Sep] actually was a great building block for rebuilding the confidence between the two countries,” he added.

“I hope both countries are believing that this will lead to a better environment to go for an entire agreement on the nuclear issue, and any other outstanding issue.”