Former President Donald Trump and others have chastised the Biden administration for unfreezing billions of dollars for Iran in exchange for prisoners. On Monday Trump fumed over the “absolutely ridiculous 6 Billion Dollar Hostage Deal with Iran” and said it set a “terrible PRECEDENT for the future.”
“Once you pay, you always pay, & MANY MORE HOSTAGES WILL BE TAKEN. Our grossly incompetent ‘leader,’ Crooked Joe Biden, gave 6 BILLION DOLLARS for 5 people. Iran gave ZERO for 5. He’s Dumb as a ROCK!” Trump said.
Former Assistant Secretary of State Bobby Charles also criticized Biden. “It is disturbing beyond belief. You know, we try very hard to keep our emotional level heads, not allow ourselves to get worked up, but this is something worth getting worked up about,” Charles said in an upcoming interview on the “Just the News, No Noise” television show. “You know, to me, as a student of history. This is almost worse than Neville Chamberlain giving away Czechoslovakia to, you know, to the brown shirts led by Mr. Hitler.”
The Foreign Desk reports that while both sides released five prisoners each, the U.S. pushed to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets in South Korea that had been frozen as part of the Trump administration’s sanction of Iranian oil purchases.
“At the end of the day, what you see here is $6 billion dollars being paid to the number one terrorist country in the world and the number one sponsor of terrorist organizations in the world in order to buy five hostages,” he went on. “What does that do? It immediately puts a price on every American head abroad; it immediately elevates the idea that Americans should be taken hostage and will be, that bad guys will be paid huge amounts of money by the federal government. But it’s also completely against American policy and the American law.”
“Look, appeasement has never worked in the history of nation states,” Charles continued. “And it doesn’t work even in interpersonal relations. And it definitely doesn’t work when you’re dealing with a terrorist organization and terrorist state.”
“This is the payment of American tax dollars in effect for hostages, and it is unconscionable, inappropriate, and in my view, illegal,” he concluded.
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U.S. House Votes to Permanently Freeze $6 Billion Iranian Funds Amid Hostage Exchange Controversy
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation to permanently freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds that were initially slated for release by the Biden administration as part of a hostage exchange with Tehran earlier this year. The measure passed in a 307-119 vote, with the majority of Republicans supporting it, according to The Hill. Notably, Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie was the sole Republican dissenting voice, aligning with 118 Democrats.
The frozen funds, originally held in South Korea, were part of a deal where Seoul committed to paying Iran for oil before the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic in 2019. Subsequently, these funds were transferred to Qatar as part of the exchange. However, in the aftermath of an Oct. 7 Hamas raid on Israel, where more than 200 hostages were seized and around 1,200 civilians were killed, both Qatar and the U.S. agreed to refreeze the funds.
The decision to permanently freeze the funds reflects the growing controversy surrounding the hostage exchange and the broader implications of releasing substantial financial resources to Iran. Tehran’s support for Hamas and its proxies’ heightened hostilities in the Middle East have contributed to the contentious nature of this issue.
As the legislation progresses, it further underscores the complex dynamics in the region and the United States’ response to Iran’s involvement in activities that destabilize the Middle East. The vote outcome signals a bipartisan stance on this matter, with implications for U.S.-Iran relations and the ongoing challenges of navigating geopolitical complexities.
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