In a questionable move by the Biden administration, the US has agreed to release $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets and free a “handful” of Iranian nationals in exchange for the release of five American prisoners held captive by Iran. It appears that President Biden is willing to make deals with countries that have a track record of human rights abuses and state-sponsored terrorism.
Biden Gives Iran $6 Billion in Unfrozen Assets, Releases Jailed Iranian Nationalshttps://t.co/YgQv1dvgVk
— The Daily Fetched (@DailyFetched) August 11, 2023
The Iranian mission to the US has confirmed that the frozen funds in South Korea will be unblocked and transferred to Qatar. This is a concerning development, as it essentially rewards Iran for their bad behavior and provides them with much-needed financial resources.
Siamak Namazi was taken hostage just over a year after I was. We were held in the same section of Evin prison, probably just a few feet from each other, yet we never met. He wasn’t released when I was. Unfathomably, almost 7 years later he’s still there. https://t.co/lj6KpoUbda
— Jason Rezaian (@jrezaian) July 1, 2022
The deal’s financial aspects have been confirmed by both the New York Times and Reuters, who spoke with US sources. The five American prisoners have been identified as Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz, and two others that President Biden did not name. It is alarming that the Biden administration is willing to negotiate with Iran on these terms, especially considering the dubious espionage charges that these Americans have been subjected to.
One of the well-known prisoners is Siamak Namazi, a supporter of the Iranian regime and advocate for closer US-Iran relations. Namazi was arrested in 2015 and has been held captive ever since. His elderly father, Baquer, was also held captive by Iran for seven years before being released. It is clear that Iran has no regard for the lives and well-being of these individuals, and yet the Biden administration is rewarding them with a massive financial payout.
It is disappointing to see President Biden prioritize his desire to restart nuclear deal talks with Iran over the lives of American citizens. Siamak Namazi himself predicted that Iran would only release its captives if offered sufficient incentives, and it seems that his prediction has come true. The Biden administration should be placing the safety and security of American citizens above any political agenda.
The families of these prisoners have spoken out against the lack of action from the Biden administration. Morad Tahbaz’s daughter, Tara Tahbaz, expressed her frustration and said that it is hard to hold hope when there is no action being taken. Morad Tahbaz is suffering from prostate cancer and has contracted COVID-19 three times while in prison. These individuals are in desperate need of help and it is disheartening that the Biden administration has not prioritized their release.
While the release of these prisoners is a step in the right direction, it is important to remember that this is just the beginning. Negotiations for their ultimate release are ongoing and delicate, and there are no guarantees of what will happen from here. The Biden administration must continue to push for the safe return of these Americans and not let Iran off the hook for its egregious actions.