(RepublicanDaily.org) – While many Americans are happy with the release of five Americans previously incarcerated in Iran, Senator Ted Cruz had harsh words about the Biden administration’s negotiations with the Muslim-run country, saying that what the U.S. gave up in exchange for the prisoners would have worse consequences, especially long term.
Cruz said that the $6 billion in oil revenue the U.S. paid Iran as part of the prisoner swap deal could be used in a variety of nefarious ways, which Cruz said included the creation and production of drones, which he said would likely go to Russia and be used in its invasion of Ukraine. The Texas senator said that given that President Biden is also asking the legislature for approval for $24 billion in aid to Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion, the Biden administration was effectively “funding both sides of the war.”
The $6 billion Cruz was referring to – an amount he said could go up to $16 billion – was released through South Korea. The funds would then go to Qatar, which will distribute the money for expenses like humanitarian aid to Iran.
However, officials from Iran are interpreting the influx of money in a much looser way. Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s president, said that the funds are now the property of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which reserves the right “to spend it wherever we need it.”
Republican Texas Representative Michael McCaul also expressed concern that the payout in particular would encourage other entities — or even countries – to hold American citizens hostage for money. Especially given that Iran is the “top state sponsor of terrorism” in the world, the U.S.’ actions “creates a direct incentive for America’s adversaries to conduct future hostage-taking.”
The former prisoners are now on U.S. soil after being repatriated along with a number of their family members who were prevented from leaving Iran. They are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens. Three names have been released to the public: Siamak Namazi, who was jailed in 2015, and Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz, who were arrested in 2018. The two other released prisoners asked that their names be kept private.
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