After President Biden released $6 billion in frozen oil revenues to Iran, the theocratic despotic Iranian regime released five American prisoners it had detained for years.
“A plane carrying the five Americans and two of their relatives has taken off from Iran and is en route to Qatar, which had helped broker the swap,” NBC News reported Monday morning. A senior Biden administration official had claimed the funds would be sent to Qatar and the Treasury Department would follow up to make sure the money was used for “humanitarian purposes.”
But Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi dismissed such claims, telling NBC News’ Lester Holt, “Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs, so this money will be budgeted for those needs, and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government,” adding that the funds would be spent “wherever we need it.”
Prominent GOP senators blasted the deal; “I am always glad when Americans are released from captivity,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted. “However, this agreement will entice rogue regimes, like Iran, to take even more Americans hostage. The ayatollah and his henchmen are terrorists and truly represent a terrorist state.”
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) echoed, “The U.S. should be unrelenting in its efforts to bring detained Americans home, but Iran will now count pallets of ransom money, putting its leaders in a better position to develop a nuclear weapon and fund terrorists. And the price to release U.S. hostages will only go up.”
Over the weekend, Iran barred roughly one-third of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors from examining its nuclear sites in the country. Rafael Grossi, director-general of the IAEA, stated:
These inspectors are among the most experienced Agency experts with unique knowledge in enrichment technology. They have conducted essential verification work at the enrichment facilities in Iran which are under Agency safeguards. With today’s decision, Iran has effectively removed about one third of the core group of the Agency’s most experienced inspectors designated for Iran.
“I strongly condemn this disproportionate and unprecedented unilateral measure,” he declared.
“This summer, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF), a Foreign Terrorist Organization, raised some of its proxies’ salaries by 13 percent,” Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) wrote last week. “This means that the IRGC-QF, and its proxies, have ample support to kill Americans, attack our partners, and threaten the region.”
“On this third anniversary of the Abraham Accords, the most significant advancement to peace in the Middle East, we are reminded of the need to strengthen our partnerships in the face of increasing Iranian aggression,” she added.