Republicans are expressing their anger towards the Biden administration’s decision to conduct a prisoner exchange with Iran and accusing President Joe Bisom of providing ransom money to terrorism-supporting countries.
The administration informed Congress on Monday that it has carried out the agreement, which includes granting a waiver that would permit Tehran to recover $6 billion in oil revenue that had been frozen by the U.S. through sanctions.
Five Iranians currently in custody in the U.S. will be released by the administration, and Iran will release five Americans it has detained as part of the agreement.
On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump criticized Biden on Truth Social for setting a terrible precedent with the deal.
We granted Iran with 5 highly skilled and intelligent individuals in exchange for a hostage trade, but Crooked Joe Biden received 6.5 billion dollars. Is it accurate to say that this is essentially the equivalent of 6 Billions?
The White House has stated that Iran is not receiving any financial aid from the U.S.
According to National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson, the payment was made in Iranian currency, which was authorized by the previous Administration and not in any way remunerated with taxpayers.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken granted a waiver to international banks last week to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar, allowing Iran to use the money to purchase humanitarian items authorized by U.S. economic sanctions.
The money in South Korea is the property of Iran, as stated by a senior Biden administration official. The Trump administration has allowed various countries, such as India and Turkey, to purchase oil from Iran and deposit it in special accounts.
The official stated that Iran would not be receiving funds directly, but instead, they would be transferred to restricted accounts in Qatar, and the United States would have control over their usage.
A request for comment from the State Department on Tuesday regarding the GOP backlash was left unanswered.
The administration’s agreement is said by some Republicans to be a deterrent for enemies of the U.S. to take more Americans hostage.
“Americans are always happy when they are freed from captivity,” tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. on X, formerly Twitter. “This agreement will also encourage rogue regimes like Iran to take more Americans hostage. The ayatollah and his henchmen are terrorists and truly represent terrorism.”
On Facebook, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., stated that while the U.S should continue its efforts to bring detained Americans back home, Iran will now count pallets of ransom money, which would empower its leaders to develop a nuclear weapon and finance terrorists. Furthermore, the cost of freeing American hostages will only escalate.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the chair of the House Republican Conference, stated on X that Biden’s policies are “unstable to our adversaries and endangering the safety and security of Americans.” She claimed that she had joined forces with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Repr. Michael McCaul to demand answers from the administration after the deal was announced, but their request was “ignored.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, claimed on X that Biden had made a covert nuclear agreement with the Iranian government, which was being “shrouded in secrecy by Congress and the American people.”
“The Biden administration must not reveal their deal because if they do, the law requires them to come and defend it in front of Congress, and this appeasement is completely unacceptable,” he wrote without providing any evidence or other details. “They will continue to lie about their policies until Congress makes them feel compelled to do otherwise.”
The administration briefed Congress on the progress of the deal and has scheduled more meetings for this week.
Several GOP lawmakers condemned the administration for disclosing new information on the latest developments, even as the 9/11 terrorist attacks hit 22 years ago.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s chairman, McCaul, stated that the agreement creates a direct incentive for America’S adversaries to take hostages in the future. He added that it was especially disturbing that Iran was actively harboring Al Qaeda leader Mahsa Amini and carrying out his murder by their moral police during the 9/11 anniversary.
On X, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. commented that Joe Biden had previously used 9/11 as a pretext to leave Afghanistan before defying the trend of paying ransom to the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.
At the Capitol, Cotton told reporters on Tuesday that the only way to prevent Iran from taking Americans hostage is by using threats against Iran’s most valuable assets instead of using $6 billion in carrots.
He stated that the radical ayatollahs in Tehran are not interested in using it for children’s hospitals, but rather to launch further attacks on Israel and American troops through their proxy networks. They also plan to send more missiles and drones to Russia for its aggression against Ukraine.
The 9/11 attacks were not executed by Iran but rather by Al Qaeda members, who were mostly Saudi citizens.
On Tuesday, the White House declared that frozen funds can only be used for humanitarian causes and are subject to more stringent legal requirements than those in South Korea.
Watson stated that the U.S. Treasury Department will enforce strict due diligence standards for these funds, and if Iran diverts funds they will be locked up again.
On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-Wa., seemed to be the only Democrat present at the Capitol who was willing to speak with reporters about the deal. He expressed concern that the U.S. could not use the unfrozen funds for humanitarian aid as promised by Iran.
He said: ‘I’m very concerned about this.’ We are looking into it, of course, but I am very worried.
According to a senior administration official, the deal is expected to be finalized this month. Watson stated on Monday that no individuals have been or will be released into U.S. custody this week.
During a recent interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stated that his administration will determine how to allocate the $6 billion of funds that have been frozen.
According to U.S. officials, the funds are being managed by Qatar’s central bank and can only be used for humanitarian aid as per sanctions.
Raisi stated in the interview that Iran would have complete control over how the money is spent, stating that the Islamic Republic of Iran will determine its use, as per a translator from the Iranian government.