Iran’s Central Bank Expects $29 Billion of Frozen Funds to Be Released by January

Iran expects about $29 billion of funds to be unfrozen and repatriated to its central bank by January 2016 at the latest as economic sanctions are eased after July’s nuclear deal, a senior central bank official said.

“It’ll be around that time,” Gholamali Kamyab, central bank vice governor for foreign exchange affairs, said in an interview Friday on the sidelines of an investment conference in Geneva.

The event is the first conference to take place after the atomic accord survived a 60-day U.S. congressional review because Republican senators failed to muster enough votes to challenge it.

 The planned release of the funds has become a focal point for U.S. critics of the atomic pact. Some in the U.S. Congress suspect the money could be used to bolster Iranian allies hostile to American partners in the region. Iran says the funds will be invested in areas including the petrochemical and natural gas industries, mining, roads and construction.

The funds are currently being held in different countries and the sum could eventually exceed $29 billion, Kamyab said.

“There could be other figures, but that’s most of it,” he added.

The holdings include $23 billion in foreign exchange belonging to the central bank and another $6 billion of government money, according to a recent report on state television. Iran has no gold held overseas, Kamyab said.