Republicans are condemning President Biden over the “stupid” $6 billion prisoner swap that allows two of the Iranian prisoners to remain in the U.S., saying it will only encourage more Americans to be taken hostage become.
Five U.S. prisoners were released by Iran on Monday as part of a controversial prisoner swap that frees up billions in Iranian assets.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called the swap orchestrated by the Biden administration an “embarrassing appeasement.”
“Two of the five Iranians released under this terrible deal will remain in the United States. “Joe Biden’s embarrassing appeasement policy not only makes Iran stronger, but also makes America less safe,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The senator wrote a letter to Secretary of State Blinken on Monday, obtained by DailyMail.com, demanding more information about the release of the five Iranian agents, including the two who want to remain in the US
Former President Donald Trump used his Truth Social platform to deplore the administration’s deal, calling Biden “adamant” about the deal, which he said would encourage future hostage-taking.
“I brought home 58 hostages from many different countries, including North Korea, and I never paid anything.” They all understood that they had to let these people come home! Towards the end it got to the point where countries didn’t even start asking for money because they knew they wouldn’t get it.”
The funds were originally frozen by Trump in South Korea in 2018.
U.S. citizens Siamak Namazi (back), Emad Sharqi (bottom left) and Morad Tahbaz (bottom right) disembark from a Qatari jet upon arrival at Doha International Airport in Doha, September 18, 2023
From left, Morad Tahbaz, Siamak Namazi and Emad Sharghi walk arm in arm from a Qatar Airways flight that took them from Tehran to Doha, Qatar, Monday, September 18, 2023.
“Once you pay, you always pay, and there will be many more hostages taken.” Our completely incompetent “leader,” crooked Joe Biden, gave 6 BILLION DOLLARS for 5 people. Iran gave ZERO for 5. He is stupid as a STONE!
Trump was among the first to criticize the agreement when details of it emerged on September 11, an ill-timed announcement that was widely viewed as insensitive.
The Biden administration insists there are “guidelines” on how Iran can spend the money, but Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said this week that Iran will decide how to spend the money.
Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department, barring the U.S. from providing foreign aid, selling defense equipment and complying with other financial restrictions.
Under the deal, Doha agreed to monitor how Iran spends the unfrozen funds to ensure the money is spent on humanitarian goods such as food and medicine and not on items subject to U.S. sanctions.
Only three of the five released U.S. prisoners have been publicly named. They are businessmen Siamak Namazi, 51, and Emad Shargi, 59, as well as Morad Tahbaz, 67, an environmentalist who also has British citizenship.
They were all imprisoned in Iran for eight years on what they said were unfounded espionage charges brought by the Biden administration.
Among the Iranian prisoners is Reza Sarhangpour-Kafrani, a dual American-Iranian citizen who was jailed in February for supplying computer equipment and technology to the Central Bank of Tehran through a front company in the United Arab Emirates and who was caught how he obtained equipment that could be used in missiles and electronic warfare.
The White House has defended the agreement and Biden praised the return of “five innocent Americans” to the United States.
“And as we welcome our fellow citizens home, I remind all Americans once again of the serious risks of traveling to Iran.” “American passport holders should not travel there,” Biden said in a statement on Monday.
“Reuniting wrongfully detained Americans with their loved ones has been a priority for my administration since day one.”
But Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called it a “metaphysical certainty” that the $6 billion “will be used to finance terrorism.”
‘Why? “Because Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” he said on his Verdict podcast last week in a discussion with co-host Ben Ferguson.
“This creates an incentive for every dictator in the world to seize even more Americans.” They set the standard rate at $1.2 billion per American hostage. This is why more Americans are being taken hostage, and it is abhorrent and dangerous to do so on the anniversary of 9/11.”
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told DailyMail.com in a statement that he was “very concerned” about how the detail would “incentivize future hostage taking.”
“Although the government claims that these funds are limited to humanitarian transactions, we all know that transactions are difficult to monitor and that money is fungible.” “There is no doubt that this deal will free up funds for Iran’s malign activities.” McCaul continued.
Former President Donald Trump used his Truth Social platform to deplore the administration’s deal, calling Biden “adamant” about the deal, which he said would encourage future hostage-taking
Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Shargi, who were released as part of a prisoner exchange deal between the U.S. and Iran, arrive at Doha International Airport in Qatar on September 18, 2023
Iranian prisoner exchanges Reza Sarhang Pour and Mehrdad Moein Ansari at Doha Airport in Doha, Qatar, September 18, 2023
He warned all Americans not to travel to Iran because the “risks are far too great.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., criticized Biden for timing the prisoner swap announcement with the anniversary of 9/11.
“The United States should never fund terrorism.” But on the anniversary of 9/11, Joe Biden gave $6 billion to Iran to reward the regime for the unlawful detention of American citizens.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, she said it was “also concerning that Biden is allowing two Iranian prisoners released from prison to remain in the US.”
“Under this administration, our enemies are becoming stronger.”
Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the deal a “slap in the face” to the families of 9/11 victims.
“President Biden should be ashamed of himself,” he wrote on X last week.