In TNT

Harambe:  Frozen Iranian Assets Transferred to Swiss Bank – Tasnim News Agency (8/21/23)

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian funds that had been blocked in South Korea were transferred to Switzerland’s central bank last week for transfer to Iran, South Korean media reported on Monday. 

Yonhap Infomax cited an unnamed currency market source as saying that the Swiss National Bank plans to exchange its $6 billion holdings in won for dollars and then euros in the currency market.

According to the report, the Swiss central bank will convert about 300 billion won ($223.85 million) to 400 billion each day for the next five weeks.

An official at South Korea’s finance ministry declined to confirm the report, citing the legal and diplomatic sensitivity of the matter.

The Iranian funds were illegally blocked in South Korea under the pretext of US sanctions, Press TV reported.

The United States, under former president Donald Trump, left 2015 deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018 and reinstated the sanctions that the agreement had lifted.

Recently, Iran and the US reached an agreement, mediated by a third country, to resolve some issues. The deal includes an exchange of prisoners as a humanitarian issue and also the unfreezing of Iranian assets illegally blocked overseas.

The Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said last week that there is no connection between a prisoner exchange agreement with the United States and the release of Tehran’s assets.

Last Monday, Amirabdollahian said the process to transfer released Iranian assets from South Korean banks to a European bank started on August 10 and will be completed in several phases.

He added that the funds would be converted into euros within a few weeks before being deposited into another bank in a regional country.

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Mohammad Reza Farzin has said that Iranian funds will be deposited to accounts held by Iranian banks in Qatar.


Tishwash:  Iran: The exchange of prisoners with America may take two months

Nasser Kanaani, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said in a press conference today, Monday, that the procedures for the release of the Americans detained in Iran will take up to two months.

“The relevant authorities announced a specific time frame, and these procedures will take at most two months,” Kanaani continued.

Tehran and Washington reached an agreement earlier this month that included the release of five US citizens held in Iran and the release of $6 billion in Iranian assets frozen in South Korea.

South Korean media reported today, Monday, that frozen Iranian assets in the country were transferred to the Swiss Central Bank last week to be exchanged for other currencies and transferred to Iran.

Iran said Washington would also release some Iranians from US prisons.

Earlier this month, a lawyer for one of the detained Americans said that Iran had allowed four American citizens to move from Tehran’s Evin Prison to house arrest. A fifth American was already under house arrest.  link

Tishwash:  British report: The era of the dominant superpower is drawing to a close and the “American century” is fading away

The British Guardian newspaper considered, on Monday, that the “American century” is rapidly fading, as Washington’s power in the world is declining, while US President Joe Biden is trying to score a “hat-trick” by concluding a Saudi-Israeli deal, and achieving a breakthrough in the Palestinian file. and reach an understanding with Iran.

The British report, translated by Shafaq News Agency, said, “It is strange that America’s declining influence throughout the Middle East follows the path of the previous retreat of the British Empire from the region itself. It seems as if the countries of the region, after rejecting an arrogant empire, are now rejecting an empire.” other”.

The report pointed out that “the ruling regimes and leaders of tyranny slowly but surely assert their independence and freedom of action, while some of them are flirting with new allies, which reflects a fundamental shift towards a multipolar world, in which no great powers dominate individually.”

The report addressed several examples, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where members of the ruling family consolidate a homogeneous national identity and express their power abroad through financial influence, oil and sports.

He added, “They, based on their strategic importance, reject the formula that they are Western protectorates with which the United States deals with them, and before that Britain.”

As for Israel, the report says, “The ultra-Orthodox Jewish nationalists and religious extremists are struggling to formulate the future character of the state in defiance of Washington’s wishes, which is reminiscent of the violent last days of the British Mandate.”

As for Turkey, the report says, “Recep Tayyip Erdogan, heir to another defeated empire, is heading west against east, and vice versa, playing a game of ‘quick kiss’ alternately with the United States, NATO, the European Union, Russia and China.”

And the report added that Biden, since assuming office in 2021, and his preoccupation with China and Ukraine, has clearly moved away from the ongoing crises in the West Bank, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, adding that “his only major pledge in the Middle East, represented by saving the Iranian nuclear agreement that Donald Trump smashed, was not has been fulfilled so far.”

After the report stated that “Britain’s invasion of Egypt in 1956 led to the undermining of Britain as a dominant regional power, he wondered if the United States was approaching its turning point, as happened with Britain in the Suez crisis.”

While the report pointed out that “Biden believes that this is not true, given his belief in American superiority, he said that the American president has instead launched an ambitious campaign to re-establish the regional leadership of the United States, partly because he sought to counter the influence of China and Russia, and partly Also, to remind local allies who seek to ensure their own security and prosperity alone.

In this context, the report indicated, “Biden has sent 3,000 additional troops to the Gulf this month, with the ostensible aim of deterring Iran, but also in order to show that he is the leader.”

The British report stated that “political calculations also play a role in what is going on,” explaining that “in order to deal with the possibility of his re-election next year, Biden hopes to score an unlikely “hat-trick”, through a successful American “understanding” with Iran, And a historic peace agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a breakthrough on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

About Iran

The report said, “Talks in Qatar regarding the release of imprisoned Americans in exchange for unfreezing Iranian assets worth $6 billion have made significant progress this month, while the two sides are discussing ending sales of Iranian military drones to Russia.”

He pointed out that “what is being circulated is that the ultimate goal is to conclude an informal bilateral agreement that stops Tehran’s nuclear programs of a military nature, in return for the complete lifting of US sanctions,” adding that “this represents what the Iranian regime most yearns for.”

Saudi Arabia

The report indicated that “the second part related to this shift in the Middle East relates to the Saudis, whom it described as the old enemy of Iran,” adding that “the United States was worried because of Chinese mediation between Tehran and Riyadh and because of Saudi cooperation with Moscow.”

And the report continued, “Biden wants to bring back the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammad bin Salman, to his side, and to ensure normalization of relations with Israel in accordance with the” Abraham Accords “, and that in order to achieve this, he proposes the work of a security agreement and the American support for a civilian nuclear program before Saudi Arabia, in a manner comparable to what Iran has. Which raises alarm bells for Israel.

He pointed out that “Saudi-Israeli normalization could include US defense guarantees and advanced weapons for the Saudi and Israeli parties, and this would also have an additional benefit, for Biden, represented in marginalizing China.”

The report asked why the United States helps and defends a Saudi regime that despises its democratic values and human rights, recalling that after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, Biden pledged to make the kingdom a global “pariah”.

The report continued, “The answer to that is that the Saudi-Israeli normalization will be a great victory before the US presidential elections, especially when it is linked to the third part of his plan, which is the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

About Israel

The report considered that “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is besieged locally, needs a Saudi deal, and that the Saudis want that too, but they insist, on paper at least, on the need to make tangible progress towards forming a Palestinian state, while Netanyahu’s partners in the right-wing coalition Extremists oppose making any concessions, while Netanyahu barely communicates with Biden, and at the same time intends to visit China in October, to the displeasure of the American president.

Despite this, the report says, “Biden believes that he can obtain Israeli approval in order to strengthen Palestinian autonomy, stop plans to annex the West Bank, perhaps revive the peace process based on the idea of two states, as the Saudis demand, discredit Iran, and provide security guarantees from all sides.” “.

But the report concluded by saying that “Biden’s hopes of scoring a hat-trick seem a bit illusory,” adding that “regardless of the large number of domestic negative factors, time is working against him.”

The report indicated that, “Like the rest of the world, regional leaders preoccupied with their own interests are wondering how long Biden will last, and whether Trump will succeed him.”

The report also pointed out that “things and times have changed, and that the United States, like Britain before it, established law in the Middle East, but that was before the September 11 attacks, al-Qaeda, Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise of China and Vladimir Putin, and the authoritarian attack on global democracy and the rule of law.” Even a group of coup plotters in Niger are able to challenge Uncle Sam with impunity these days.

The report concluded by saying, “The era of the dominant superpower and the ‘indispensable nation’ is coming to an end,” adding that “Biden may do his best to preserve the old order, but like Britain’s lost” imperial age, The American Century is fast becoming history. Translation: Shafak News Agency  link