Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine who was released by Russia in a 2022 prisoner swap after being held for more than two and a half years, on Tuesday rejected criticism of the Biden administration’s deal with Iran to free five American prisoners.
The United States agreed to release $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds in exchange for the return of Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz and two other previously unnamed Americans. The deal also states that Iran can only use the money for “humanitarian transactions.”
But some, including former President Donald Trump, were quick to denounce the deal, saying it would only further incite U.S. adversaries to take American hostages.
“Once you pay, you always pay, and MANY MORE HOSTAGES WILL BE TAKEN,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. “Our blatantly incompetent “leader,” Crooked Joe Biden, gave $6 BILLION for 5 people. Iran gave ZERO for 5.”
Reed, however, told CNN’s “The Source” that was far from the truth, emphasizing his own case. He said that even when the United States refused to negotiate with Russia after capturing former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, the Kremlin still took Reed hostage, and also later arrested WNBA star Brittney Griner.
Reed and Griner were released in 2022 in separate prisoner exchanges, while Whelan remains in custody.
“Anyone who is reasonable can see that your refusal to negotiate with these governments does not guarantee that they will not take more hostages,” Reed said.
Last year, Russia also arrested Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the first American journalist to face espionage charges in the country since the Cold War.
Reed argued that the main reason foreign governments capture Americans is to show that they have the power to put the United States in an embarrassing position, and that this will likely continue regardless.
“Their motivation for taking Americans hostage is that they are Americans and they can show that to their own citizens,” he said.
Reed added that he appreciates Biden’s decision on the Iran deal, noting that it must have been difficult to do so before an election year.
“It was probably rooted in his morals and his feeling that he had to do what was right in politics,” Reed said.