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Trump Shreds Biden On $6 Billion ‘Ransom’ Payment To Iran

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump has shredded President Joe Biden and his administration for, what he says is, a “$6 billion ransom” being paid to Iran for American prisoners.

The Biden administration has agreed to a deal in which the United States will unfreeze $6 billion in oil assets in exchange for the release of the 5 Americans, something that the former president says places a “bounty on the head” of other Americans abroad, The New York Times reported.

“Biden is giving $6 billion to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Just as when Obama sent the Iranian regime pallets of cash for hostages in the dark of night,” he said. “Remember, plane loads of cash. Biden’s ransom payment will be immediately used to stoke violence, bloodshed, and mayhem throughout the Middle East, and all around the world costing countless innocent lives.”

“It’s also guaranteed that the fanatical Iranian regime will use this money to advance their nuclear weapons program putting Israel, the United States, and the entire world in very grave peril,” he said. “They are reportedly just weeks away from a nuclear bomb something which would have never happened under the Trump administration.”

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“Tragically, Biden’s ransom payments also make it dramatically more likely that even more Americans will be held captive in the future because Biden has shown that he will pay gargantuan sums of money, meaning the kidnappers turn a massive profit, they’re making money hand over fist,” the former president said. “In other words, Biden has put a bounty on the head of every American citizen abroad.”

“Under my leadership, we brought home more than 50 hostages from all over the world and we never paid ransom money to do it,” he said. “Not at all. We did it with diplomacy and we did it through strength and we will do it again when we are re-elected as President of the United States.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby hit back at the allegations of a ransom payment when he appeared on CNN.

“Look, while I can’t tell you everything that we’re doing and everything that this is, I can certainly tell you what it’s not. And there’s not going to be a ransom payment. There’s not going to be sanctions relief,” he said.

“There [are] no U.S. taxpayer dollars that are going to be applied to getting these Americans home. And this $6 billion, without getting into the details of the negotiations, I think there’s a little confusion about what this account is all about,” the spokesman said.

“This is part of a system of accounts that were set up in the previous administration that allowed some countries to import Iranian goods, non-sanctionable goods, and that the Iranians could pull on those accounts, those payments, through a special system only used for humanitarian purposes,” he said.

“And that’s what we’re talking about here. It’s a pre-existing account that was set up in the previous administration, which they allowed other countries to set up, that has not been made accessible to the Iranians. They’d be able to have some access to it, but only for humanitarian purposes,” he said.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper hit back at Kirby.

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“What would you say to somebody out there…who says, okay, so, this money — let’s say it’s $6 billion, because I don’t have another figure to go by and you didn’t offer an alternating one — $6 billion in Iranian assets that are unfrozen,” he said.

“Whether it’s — you say it’s not American taxpayer dollars, and that’s accurate, still, it does seem like we are giving the Iranians something. And certainly, I could understand why the common man or woman out there might say, that’s a ransom payment, I’m glad these Americans are getting home, but that’s a ransom payment?” he said.

“Well, a couple of things here: First of all, negotiations are about giving and taking, and there was no universe in which we were going to get these five Americans home without some bartering, some compromising with the Iranians. And that bargaining is ongoing right now. So, again, I don’t want to get too far ahead of what it’s going to actually look like, the terms — the scope of the negotiation and the deal. But on this ransom, this is not a ransom,” the spokesman said.

“And it’s important to remember that the account from which money could be accessed by the Iranians is an account set up in the previous administration that allowed other countries to import non-sanctionable goods. It’s not something that the Biden administration created, but it’s a series of accounts that Iran has pulled on before,” he said.

“They haven’t been able to pull on one account, and what we’re talking about is the possibility of making that one account that has been in existence for several years more accessible to the Iranians. But it would be, again, under the same level of limits. They could only pull from that account for humanitarian purposes, and there is an oversight mechanism that’s already built into that process. So, it’s not ransom, and again, no U.S. taxpayer dollars [are] involved here,” he said.

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