The United States released $8 billion in frozen assets to Iran on Sunday in a move meant to ensure Tehran’s compliance with a nuclear agreement signed over the weekend, say top Iranian officials, the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday.
Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht confirmed Monday that the U.S. government freed $8 billion in assets that had been blocked by the Obama administration.
In addition, Iran will get about $7 billion in sanctions relief, gold, and oil sales under the nuclear deal that was signed in Geneva with Western nations over the weekend.
Iranian officials have lauded the deal as a path to opening up greater trade relations with the West.
“The agreement will open a new path towards Iran,” Alinaqi Khamoushi, former head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, told the Islamic Republic News Agency.
“The agreement will ease the anti-Iran sanctions, which will have significant impacts on the Iranian economy,” he said.
At least one senior Republican aide on Capitol Hill was disturbed by the reports.
“It’s pretty clear the White House and State Department have been lying to the American people since the beginning of this process, so it wouldn’t shock me to learn they are lying about how much sanctions relief they’re giving Iran now,” the aide, who was not identified, told The Beacon.
The State Department has denied that sanctions have been altered since an interim deal with Iran was announced.
“This report is false. Sanctions today are the same as they were last week,” a senior State Department official said in response to a report by Far, an Iranian newspaper. “We will be forthcoming with guidance on how the technical terms of the relief package are worked out once all that is determined.”