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Iran-US prisoner swap: How Democrats and Republicans reacted to the deal | News

Washington DC – Republicans on Monday denounced the U.S.-Iran prisoner swap, saying the deal incentivizes Tehran to detain more Americans in the future.

Officials in US President Joe Biden’s administration, however, welcomed the release of the five American citizens held by Iran, adding that they would soon be reunited with their families.

Five Iranian prisoners in the United States were also returned to their home countries.

The Qatar-brokered deal also allowed the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian funds formerly held in South Korea. Before Monday’s deal, funds could not be transferred due to U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Here’s how Republicans and Democrats reacted to the deal.

Biden says detainees are ‘finally coming home’

Biden on Monday welcomed the release of American detainees.

“Today, five innocent Americans imprisoned in Iran finally return home,” the president said in a statement.

He also pledged to continue pushing for the release of other American citizens imprisoned abroad.

“We remain steadfast in our efforts to maintain confidence in them and their families – and we will not stop working until we bring home every American held hostage or wrongfully detained,” Biden said .

The Democratic president highlighted one case in particular: that of Bob Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007. Biden called on Tehran to give a “full account of what happened to him”.

Several other U.S. officials on Monday also called on Iran to share what it knows about Levinson, who was on an unauthorized CIA mission when he was last seen in Iran, according to a 2013 report from the Associated Press news agency.

Donald Trump denounces prisoner exchange

Former US President Donald Trump criticized the prisoner swap on Monday, calling Biden “stupid” for agreeing to unfreeze Iranian funds.

“This absolutely ridiculous $6 billion hostage deal with Iran has set a terrible PRECEDENT for the future,” Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social website.

“Buckel (sic), you are going to see terrible things start to happen. 3 years ago, the highly respected United States became the laughing stock of the ENTIRE WORLD. LET’S GIVE AMERICA BACK THE GREAT NEWS. VOTE ASSET!!!”

In 2018, Trump – who is leading the race for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election – canceled the multilateral nuclear deal that limited Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Donald Trump is the favorite to be the Republican Party’s candidate for the US presidential election in 2024 (File: Reba Saldanha/Reuters)

US funds ‘confident’ will be used for humanitarian purposes: Blinken

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the deal gives Iran access to “its own money,” not U.S. funds, addressing a common misconception surrounding the negotiations.

He added that Washington would ensure that the $6 billion was used only for humanitarian purposes.

“We are confident that the Iranian funds that have been made more readily available to Iran as a result of the steps we have taken will be used exclusively for humanitarian purposes,” Blinken told reporters. “And we have the means and the mechanisms to ensure that that happens. »

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said last week in an interview with NBC News that Iran would spend the $6 billion “wherever” it wants.

A Republican deputy denounces “failing leadership”

Republican Congressman Pat Fallon denounced what he called “the failure of Biden and Antony Blinken’s leadership on the world stage” after Monday’s prisoner exchange.

Key Democrat welcomes release of detainees, warns against travel to Iran

Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, applauded the release of the detainees but warned Americans against traveling to Iran.

“They should never have been detained in the first place, and I welcome them back into the loving arms of their families.” This is a moment to celebrate,” Menendez said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, all Americans must understand the risks they take when traveling to Iran or other countries that detain Americans for political purposes: no one is safe, no one is spared.”

Centrist Democrat calls deal ‘disconcerting at first glance’

Rep. Dean Phillips, a centrist Democrat, said the prisoner swap was “disconcerting on the surface,” but he asked for more information about the deal.

“Iran poses a clear and present danger, and the prisoner exchange deal is disconcerting on its face,” Phillips wrote in a social media post. “That said, it is irresponsible to draw conclusions until the administration shares more information. I hope there’s more than meets the eye, and I’ll give my thoughts once it’s clear.

A Republican senator discusses the September 11 attacks

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn invoked the September 11, 2001 attacks in criticizing the prisoner exchange agreement on Monday.

The Biden administration informed Congress last week that it was granting sanctions waivers to allow the transfer of Iranian funds, an announcement that coincided with the 22nd anniversary of 9/11.

Iran was not involved in the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

Congressman ‘delighted’ by release of one of his constituents

Democratic Rep. Jim Himes, who represents Connecticut, welcomed the release of inmate Morad Tahbaz, one of his constituents, without commenting on the political aspects of the agreement.

“I am pleased to learn that after almost six years of wrongful detention in Iran, Morad Tahbaz can finally return home to Connecticut,” Himes said in a statement. “Morad is a father, cancer survivor and wildlife advocate who was unjustly accused while working to protect endangered wildlife in Iran. »


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