CV NEWS FEED // The Biden administration released $6 billion in frozen Iranian energy funds in exchange for five American prisoners.
The move has been widely panned by lawmakers and military experts. The deal was approved on September 11, 2023 – the anniversary of the worst-ever terrorist attack on American soil.
“President Joe Biden’s appeasement of Iran not only disgraces the memory of those who died 22 years ago, it endangers Americans today,” wrote Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR:
Biden agreed to transfer five prisoners and $6 billion to Iran in exchange for the ayatollahs releasing five American hostages — in effect, placing a $1.2-billion bounty on the head of every American hostage. This is a nearly 200% increase per hostage from the $1.7 billion Barrack Obama [sic] paid for four hostages in 2015. When Democrats are in office, it pays to have American hostages.
Cotton said that the deal “was even worse” than the one Biden made with Russian President Vladimir Putin last year – where he exchanged Viktor Bout, a notorious arms dealer nicknamed the “Merchant of Death,” for a famous basketball player who was imprisoned in Russia for drug crimes.
“At least then, he didn’t pay the equivalent cost of over half a squadron of F-35s per hostage, in addition to a prisoner swap,” Cotton remarked.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, also denounced the deal. “President Biden has established a secret nuclear deal with the Iranian regime that is being kept from Congress and the American people,” Cruz wrote in a September 11 press release:
The Biden administration must keep their deal secret because if they disclosed it, the law requires them to come to Congress and defend it, and this appeasement is utterly indefensible. Instead, they will continue lying about their policies until Congress forces them to do otherwise.
Two days later, Cruz continued to blast the deal on his “Verdict” podcast. “The exact quote from Iran’s president was that the funds will be used quote ‘wherever we need it,’” Cruz explained. “And it is a metaphysical certainty that this money will be used to fund terrorism. Why? Because Iran’s the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-NY, wrote that the president’s administration was advancing an “anti-American agenda” in a September 12 letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“The decision to issue sanction waivers and allow the transfer of these frozen Iranian funds is both deeply troubling and detrimental to our national security,” D’Esposito wrote:
Your own department’s most recent “Country Reports on Terrorism 2021” stated that “Iran continued to be the leading state sponsor of terrorism, facilitating a wide range of terrorist and other illicit activities around the world.”
The report goes on to detail how Iran uses a global procurement network to bolster its military capabilities and support terrorist activities globally. Allowing Iran access to this $6 billion only further enables the country to facilitate terrorism throughout the Middle East and around the world.
The same day, retired three-star Army General Keith Kellogg spoke out against the swap during an interview with FOX Business. “It’s not good when you look at the deal, and the timing was terrible when it was really announced yesterday on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11,” he said. “And people need to understand that Iran is not a friend of the West at all.”
Kellogg was the National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Mike Pence during the latter part of the Trump administration.
Another Trump administration official, former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, also criticized the deal.
“To give them access to $6 billion on 9/11 just doesn’t make any sense at all,” he said. “It sends the wrong message to our adversaries. It shows American weakness, and it creates a market for new hostage taking.”
As the Daily Caller reported, Secretary Blinken
signed a blanket waiver last week for $6 billion in seized Iranian assets to be transferred from South Korea to Qatar, the country responsible for giving the funds back to Iran. Five Iranian prisoners will be released along with the “ransom” payment in exchange for five American prisoners.