Senator Young Calls the Release of Iranian Revenue and Prisoner Swap “Outrageous and Ill-Advised”
WASHINGTON–President Biden plans on releasing $6 billion in Iranian revenue as part of a deal to free five American prisoners who are being detained in Iran. Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young is not a fan of this move.
“This is outrageous. This is ill-advised. This is counterproductive, meaning it will not lead to fewer Americans being held captive, it will lead to more in the future,” said Young in a Tuesday interview on Tony Katz Today.
The move issues a waiver for international banks to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian money from South Korea to Qatar without the U.S. issuing sanctions on it. Congress was not informed of the waiver decision until Monday. Also in the exchange, the Biden administration will release five Iranian citizens detained in the U.S.
“I certainly wasn’t consulted about this and I don’t know of anyone else who was consulted in the Senate either,” said Young
Young says a cardinal principle of the U.S.’s foreign policy is that the government should never provide ransom payments.
“When Presidents do that, they’re taken to the woodshed. But this is highly, grossly irresponsible. We need to apply leverage on our friendly countries to use their diplomats and pressure campaigns to get these Americans free,” said Young.
Young says no amount of money in an exchange like this is appropriate.
“This is a public relations breakthrough for the Islamic Republic of Iran. We need to be screaming from the rooftops. We need to disincentivize any future leader from doing this,” said Young.
The sanctions waiver applies to banks and other financial institutions in South Korea, Germany, Ireland, Qatar and Switzerland.
The State Department says the money already belonged to Iran and the regime can only to spend it on humanitarian needs. Republicans say that
argument is absurd, and there’s no way to actually trace what Iran spends all of its money on.
Those in favor of the deal say it will relieve tension in the Middle East.
You can listen to the full interview below.
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