How much of Iran’s frozen assets will be released upon implementation of the agreement?

[original article in Hodana]

The Huffington Post reported that the US Secretary of Treasury, Jack Lew, stated on July 29th that upon the implementation of the nuclear agreement, Iran will receive about $55B through discounted sanctions which is a fraction of the $150B that critics of claimed.

During a breakfast banquet – hosted by the Christian Science Monitor – Mr. Lew stated that there has been a lot of talk about how Iran will receive $155B upon the lifting of sanctions and that is not true. He went on to explain that Iran cannot gain access to the majority of the money that is blocked outside of the country because the timeframe in releasing this money has been already set.

During his testimony last week before a group of US Senators, Lew stated that $20B of Iran’s frozen assets were previously allocated towards infrastructure projects with China. Also, another $10B is owed to the bank and energy sector from prior loans. Lew also estimated that Iran’s demands for domestic investment is more than $500B as well as $100B to $200B to restore the country’s oil and gas production levels.

Mr. Lew continued to say that he never said Iran won’t spend a penny of this money on bad goals, but this process does not change Iran’s objectives in pursuing good or bad goals. There has been an increase in support from the members of Congress who have heard the arguments from Obama’s team on the value of this deal. Those members who support the agreement have shown restraint [in publicly announcing it] but those who strongly oppose this deal have expressed their frustrations.

In response to a statement made by Iran, that if new sanctions are imposed on the country they will review their obligations to this agreement, Mr. Lew stated that this does not mean that the Obama administration is going to completely ban imposing new sanctions. Lew stressed that “we have every legal right to impose sanctions on terrorist acts, human rights violations, and measures to protect the region’s stability.” He went on to say that “I think what we have now is whether or not Congress or the Government will lift all the [current] sanctions to only re-impose them under a new label.”

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