VIENNA, July 23 (Reuters) - Iran will use funds unfrozen by its nuclear deal with world powers mainly to finance domestic investments, keeping the money abroad until it is needed, Iranian deputy central bank governor Akbar Komijani said on Thursday.
“Those funds will be used primarily for the financing of investments, and they will be kept in the central bank account in foreign countries,” he told a conference in Vienna.
Under the deal, Iran will gain access to assets frozen abroad by sanctions; the money may become available around the end of this year, after Tehran is certified in compliance with the agreement, analysts believe.
U.S. officials have said Iran will obtain access to over $100 billion of frozen assets, but Komijani said only about $29 billion was blocked, of which $23 billion belonged to the central bank as international reserves and $6 billion, mainly the proceeds of oil sales, belonged to the government.
Most of the $100 billion is already being used by Iran’s oil, petrochemical and gas industries, and to finance nearly 60 investment projects through the Chinese government, Komijani added without elaborating.
He said Iranian authorities had given the issue of how to hold and manage unfrozen funds to the central bank to decide.
Keeping some of the money temporarily in accounts abroad, instead of bringing it back to Iran as soon as it became available, could be seen by foreign governments as a vote of confidence in the nuclear agreement holding.
The frozen funds will be invested in areas including the petrochemical and natural gas industries, mining, roads and construction, Komijani said.
“Create jobs. Create investment,” he said. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Writing by Andrew Torchia)