The Joe Biden administration has informed Congress that it is taking steps to execute a prisoner exchange with Iran, allowing Tehran access to $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue that had been blocked by US sanctions. This information was conveyed to Congress via a State Department document, as reported by NBC News.
Former President Donald Trump used Truth Social as his platform to criticize Joe Biden’s decision. He expressed outrage, stating, “Can you believe that Crooked Joe Biden is giving $6 Billion to the terrorist regime in Iran? That money will be used for terrorism all over the Middle East and, indeed, the world. This incompetent FOOL is absolutely destroying America.”
Trump also pointed out the timing of the announcement, which was made on September 11th, and raised concerns about potential repercussions, saying, “He had the audacity to announce this terrible deal today, September 11th. Paying for hostages will lead to kidnapping, ransom, and blackmail against Americans across the globe. I freed many dozens of our people from various unfriendly countries and never paid a dime!”
Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a waiver allowing international banks to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar, bypassing US sanctions.
According to The Associated Press, the waiver decision stated, “the United States has committed to release five Iranian nationals currently detained in the United States and to permit the transfer of approximately $6 billion in Iranian funds held in restricted accounts in the ROK (Republic of Korea) to restricted accounts in Qatar, where the funds will be available only for humanitarian trade.”
The State Department’s report to Congress clarified that Iran will be allowed to use these funds exclusively for the purchase of food, medicine, or other humanitarian items that are specifically permitted under US economic sanctions.
The report emphasized the necessity of facilitating the release of US citizens and noted that the transfer would provide limited benefit to Iran, as the funds could only be used for humanitarian trade after being transferred to the destination accounts.