5 Americans Freed from Iran – Biden Pays $6 Billion

On September 18, 2023, the Biden administration announced that it had reached a deal with Iran to secure the release of five Americans who had been imprisoned in the country. In exchange, the United States would unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue that had been held in frozen accounts.

“A plane carrying the five Americans and two of their relatives has taken off from Iran and is en route to Qatar, which had helped broker the swap,” NBC News reported Monday morning. A senior Biden administration official had claimed the funds would be sent to Qatar and the Treasury Department would follow up to make sure the money was used for “humanitarian purposes.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi dismissed such claims, telling NBC News’ Lester Holt, “Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs, so this money will be budgeted for those needs, and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government,” adding that the funds would be spent “wherever we need it.”

Prominent GOP senators blasted the deal; “I am always glad when Americans are released from captivity,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted. “However, this agreement will entice rogue regimes, like Iran, to take even more Americans hostage. The ayatollah and his henchmen are terrorists and truly represent a terrorist state.”

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) wrote, “The U.S. should be unrelenting in its efforts to bring detained Americans home, but Iran will now count pallets of ransom money, putting its leaders in a better position to develop a nuclear weapon and fund terrorists. And the price to release U.S. hostages will only go up.”

“This summer, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF), a Foreign Terrorist Organization, raised some of its proxies’ salaries by 13 percent,” Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) wrote last week. “This means that the IRGC-QF, and its proxies, have ample support to kill Americans, attack our partners, and threaten the region.”

“On this third anniversary of the Abraham Accords, the most significant advancement to peace in the Middle East, we are reminded of the need to strengthen our partnerships in the face of increasing Iranian aggression,” she added.