(Bloomberg) --

Iran has made “considerable progress” in recent weeks to secure the release of billions of dollars of funds trapped by sanctions in foreign accounts, the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency reported.

The state-run Nour News said it expects the funds to be released to “new accounts” as a result of Saturday’s announcement by the United Nations that Iranian-Americans Siamak and Baqer Namazi were released from detention in Tehran. President Joe Biden’s administration denied a link between the two issues.

“Reports from Iranian sources of a transfer of funds related to the release of Baquer Namazi and furlough of Siamak Namazi are categorically false,” Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council, said in a statement. 

Iran has said it has some $7 billion in foreign currency revenues from oil sales that are blocked, mostly in South Korea, because of US sanctions. The statement comes as talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are stalled and the Iran’s leadership is under pressure from anti-government protests. 

“Some banking issues remain but discussions are underway with the relevant parties to find a solution,” ISNA reported, citing a statement by the Central Bank of Iran.

(Updates with White House statement in third paragraph.)

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