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U.S. and Iran exchanged prisoners they had been holding each other. According to the agreement between the two sides, the release was made shortly after $60 billion of Iranian funds and 8 trillion won of Korean money were transferred from South Korea. Iran says it has lost money due to the decline in the value of the won and is pursuing a lawsuit against South Korea.

I'm a Washington correspondent.

Five Americans held in Iran on
espionage charges have been released.

It landed in the capital, Doha, on a passenger plane arranged by Qatar, the mediator.

Around the same time, five Iranians who had been imprisoned in the United States were also released.

The prisoner exchange was carried out after $5 billion of Iranian frozen funds and 5 trillion won in South Korea were transferred to Iranian accounts in Qatar under an agreement reached last month.

The U.S. stressed that the funds could only be used for humanitarian purposes.

[Tony Blinken/U.S. Secretary of State: Iranian funds, which have become more readily available to Iran under the unfreeze, will be used for humanitarian purposes only.]

He said the move was not a lifting of sanctions against Iran and reaffirmed the principle of Iranian denuclearization.

The unfrozen account was a domestic won account in the name of the Central Bank of Iran, which was frozen in 60 by the Trump administration in 8 due to Iran's nuclear development.

Iran says it is pursuing a lawsuit against South Korea, claiming that it has suffered damage as the won's value has fallen during the period when the funds were tied up.

[Farzin/Governor of the Central Bank of Iran: Plans are being pursued to file a lawsuit against South Korea for the damage caused by the restriction of access to Iranian funds and the depreciation of the won.]

U.N. Secretary-General Guterres has said he hopes the exchange of prisoners will lead to a reduction in tensions between the two countries, but it will not be easy to improve relations between the two countries as the United States is determined to deal decisively with Iran's provocations, including its nuclear program.

(Video Interview: Oh Jeong-sik, Video Editing: Jung Sung-hoon)