Donald Trump issued a warning Monday over President Joe Biden’s deal to secure five U.S. citizens detained by Iran.
Biden’s deal, which was announced in August and took two years to negotiate, according to The New York Times, has come under scrutiny for its concessions to Iran. The Biden administration agreed to release $6 billion in Iranian oil funds currently held in a South Korean bank, as well as return five Iranian prisoners who have been indicted in the United States in exchange for the five Americans. Critics of the deal, meanwhile, said it could endanger national security or encourage the capture of more Americans.
Trump, who is running in the 2024 Republican primary election to challenge Biden next November, blasted the deal, while touting his own efforts to recover hostages during his administration in a Truth Social article Monday morning.
“I brought home 58 HOSTAGES from many different countries, including North Korea, and never paid anything. They all understood that they HAD TO LET THESE PEOPLE GO HOME! Towards the end, countries didn’t even start the conversation by asking for money, because they knew they wouldn’t get it,” the former president wrote. “Once you pay, you always pay, AND MANY MORE HOSTAGES WILL BE TAKEN. Our blatantly incompetent “leader”, Crooked Joe Biden, gave $6 BILLION for 5 people. Iran gave ZERO for 5 people. He’s stupid as a rock!”
Trump’s criticism of the deal came just hours after a plane carrying the five hostages, along with two family members who were barred from leaving Iran, left the country Monday morning. The deal follows strained relations between the United States and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Three of the American hostages released on Monday were identified as Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, while the identities of the other two were not revealed. Namazi had been detained since 2015, while Sharghi and Tahbaz were arrested in 2018.
News week contacted the White House for comment via email.
The former president criticized Biden’s previous deals to secure the release of U.S. citizens from the custody of his adversaries, such as Biden’s deal to secure the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner who was detained in Russia for possession of cannabis products last year. exchange for the famous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
“She (Griner) came loaded with drugs into hostile territory where they’re very vigilant about drugs. They don’t like drugs. And she got caught. And now we’re supposed to catch her,” Trump said. on The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show Last year. “She makes a lot of money, I guess. But we’re supposed to bring her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. He’s killed a lot of Americans, killed a lot of people, and he will get a free reward.” map.”
Even though Trump claims he never paid anything, his administration made some concessions in the hostage deals. In 2019, American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks were exchanged for three Taliban leaders. The following year, the United States returned an Iranian scientist just days before Iran released Marine Michael White, although officials denied it was a prisoner exchange.
Biden administration defends hostage exchange
The Biden administration defended the exchange. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told NPR that the White House had to “make some tough decisions” during the negotiations. Miler said the $6 billion would be held in a secure account in Qatar and could only be used for humanitarian purposes.
“Five American citizens were imprisoned in brutal conditions, one for more than eight years. And the secretary and the president decided that we had to do everything we could to bring them home, and that’s what we Let’s do it,” he said.
Biden also warned Monday that anyone with a U.S. passport should not travel to Iran, doubling down on a long-standing warning from the State Department.
“The U.S. State Department has long issued a travel advisory that states: ‘Do not travel to Iran due to the risk of kidnapping and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.’ All Americans should heed these words and not expect that their release can be secured if they do not do so,” the White House wrote in a statement.