I determine that it is in the national security interest of the United States to waive the imposition of sanctions …Sec. of State Antony Blinken on America providing a waiver to “release” $6 billion of Iranian funds in exchange for U.S. prisoners.
Why It Matters: The tentative deal could free 5 American prisoners but will allow Iran access to billions of dollars frozen overseas. The money was frozen as part of sanction efforts (by the U.S. and global community) in reaction to Iran's activities supporting terrorism. The tentative deal would also release five Iranian citizens currently held in the United States.
Caveat: The money will be held in Qatar and used for "humanitarian" purposes. However, critics say the sanctions are in place to pressure Iran to change its actions (to stop funding terrorist activity and its nuclear program) and the release of the funds takes off the pressure that could lead to change.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R): "First Joe Biden used 9/11 as an excuse to flee Afghanistan. Now he desecrates this day by paying ransom to the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. Shameful."
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R): "It’s ridiculous for US to be blackmailed into paying $6B for hostages which will help indirectly finance the number 1 foreign policy of Iran: terrorism Last time it was $1.7B traded for hostages next time it will probably be $10B the price keeps going up & up."
Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council: “What is being pursued here is an arrangement wherein we secure the release of 5 wrongfully held Americans. This remains a sensitive and ongoing process. While this is a step in the process, no individuals have been or will be released into U.S. custody this week.”
Who Was Released Via The Associated Press:
Siamak Namazi, detained in 2015, sentenced to 10 years in prison on internationally criticized spying charges.
Emad Sharghi, a venture capitalist sentenced to 10 years.
Morad Tahbaz, a British-American conservationist of Iranian descent who was arrested in 2018 and also received a 10-year sentence.
The fourth and fifth prisoners were not identified.
by Jenna Lee,