September 12, 2023

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said his government will decide how it will spend $6 billion in previously frozen funds due to be released in a prisoner exchange agreement with the United States, telling NBC News’ Lester Holt that the money will be spent "wherever we need it." Under the arrangement, Tehran will be granted access to the roughly $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues that were blocked in South Korean banks because of U.S. sanctions. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks with NBC News' Lester Holt in Tehran. The Biden administration informed Congress on Monday that it had taken concrete steps to clear the way for the prisoner exchange, issuing a waiver that allows international banks to transfer the $6 billion to Qatar without the threat of U.S. sanctions. NBC News first reported on the prisoner exchange negotiations in February.