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Republicans call out Biden over $6 billion deal with Iranian regime, saying it sets ‘dangerous precedent’

 August 23, 2023

In a Friday letter addressed to the White House, several prominent Republican senators expressed their profound concerns over the Biden administration's decision to unfreeze $6 billion in assets for Iran in exchange for releasing five American captives.

Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN.), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), among over 20 other GOP lawmakers, believe this move may establish a perilous pattern for future interactions with Iran, Fox News reported.

The senators assert, "This decision will reinforce an incredibly dangerous precedent and will enable the Iranian regime to increase its destabilizing activities across the Middle East."

Seeking Clarifications

To grasp the complete scope of this decision, the senators have requested a face-to-face briefing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Additionally, they have demanded written responses within a month to discern whether this decision, involving assets originally frozen in South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions, stands contrary to existing policies.

Sen. Scott took to X, previously recognized as Twitter, declaring, "I'm holding the White House accountable for putting a price on American lives."

Meanwhile, Sen. Blackburn emphasized that such actions might "Incentivizes Iran's terrorist activities and endangers the lives of even more of our citizens."

Blackburn said, "Everyone wants to see Americans return home safely, but that should be accomplished without conceding our nation's future security.

She added, "You don't negotiate with terrorists. You put pressure on them and reaffirm our nation's strength."

The Deal: "Honorable Diplomacy."

After almost seven years, some detained Iranian Americans were moved to house arrest in an Iranian hotel amid ongoing negotiations between D.C. and Tehran.

The New York Times reports that the draft deal offers Iran access to $6 billion of its oil revenue in South Korea, deposited in a Qatar bank, in return for the American detainees.

Iranian media portrayed the agreement as a triumph for President Ebrahim Raisi's conservative leadership, terming it "honorable diplomacy."

Historical Context

This isn't the first instance where the U.S. has engaged in such negotiations.

A similar situation took place in 2016 under the Obama administration, when the U.S. dispatched $400 million to Iran, facilitating the release of four American detainees in Tehran.

The senators recalled their prior reservations about that decision, cautioning at the time that it "would put a price on American lives."

Highlighting the gravity of the recent action, the letter from the senators noted, "Seven years later, the current administration is providing a ransom payment worth at least 15 times that amount to the world's largest state sponsor of terror, in yet another violation of the United States' long-standing 'no concessions' policy."

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also voiced his apprehensions on X, remarking, "That's a lot of money to fund more terrorism + will make taking Americans hostage more likely in future."