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Iran doesn't touch assets that US has unfrozen.

The Islamic Republic has not touched any of the $550 million sent to an Iranian account in Switzerland after the United State unfroze the money February 3, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Journal said Iran has been "unable" to tap the money. But it didn't explain how it would be unable to use funds in its own account in a bank that the United States pinpointed could process payments for Iran. The bank with the funds is Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP).

It is possible that there are hang-ups transmitting funds given that Iran remains barred from using SWIFT, the European-based institution that handles most international financial transactions. However, the money was transferred from Japan, where it was frozen, to BCP in February without any problems.

The Journal didn't say why the funds remained untapped as of April 2. It is possible Iran has decided not to use them yet. Iran has confirmed that it holds possession of the first three payments and hasn't complained publicly that it cannot access the funds.

Under the interim nuclear agreement that took effect January 20, the United States authorized two other payments totaling $1 billion in March and is due to unfreeze another billion dollars in payments this week and next week. It isn't known what banks received the March payments or will receive the April payments.

Altogether, the United States is obliged to unfreeze $4.2 billion by July 20.
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Title Annotation:Economy: Money and its impact
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Apr 11, 2014
Words:242
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