U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says it is in the country’s national security interest “to waive the imposition of sanctions” on Iran and transfer $6 billion to the Iranian Republic in exchange for five detained Americans.
Candidates vying to be the next U.S. president, as well as other politicians and activists, disagree vehemently and say they didn’t appreciate the Biden administration’s announcement of the decision on Sept. 11 of all days.
“While Americans mourn 9/11, [President Joe] Biden lines the pockets of the Iranian ayatollahs who provide safe harbor to the current head of Al-Qaeda,” wrote Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican candidate in 2024.
“This deal bankrolls nuclear ambitions, hostage-takers and extremists who hate America. When I’m president, we will not sell out American interests to enrich our adversaries,” said DeSantis.
“The only thing that makes this worse is announcing it on 9/11,” wrote Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who is also a Republican candidate for president.
“President Biden can’t seem to cut his habit of sending money to terrorists. First, it was $400 million to Iran in 2016 when he was vice president. Now, it’s $6 billion to Iran on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11,” wrote Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), also a presidential contender. “This president is putting a price on American lives. Enough is enough.”
“The Biden administration’s decision to pay a $6b ransom to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism endangers Americans abroad,” added Mike Pence, a Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. vice president. “President Biden announcing the deal on the anniversary of 9/11 is a disgrace.”
“Joe Biden is laundering money for Terror Inc. through a secret nuclear deal with Iran,” wrote North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, a presidential candidate. “Americans should know that this is not just a $6 billion hostage-ransom payment. This is part of a much larger, unlawful, Biden-backed, backroom multibillion dollar sanctions relief deal provided to the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism.”
Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination, wrote on his social media platform Truth Social, “So let’s get this straight! We did a hostage trade with Iran. We gave them five very tough, smart people that they desperately wanted. We likewise got back five people, but we also gave them 6 billion dollars.
“How much of a kickback does Crooked Joe Biden get? Does anyone realize how much money $6 billion is?” Trump added. “When I was president, I got back 58 hostages for zero money.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote that the Biden administration “is sending $6 billion to the Iran ayatollah who routinely chants, ‘Death to America and Death to Israel.’”
“Sadly, this Biden White House puts partisan politics ahead of national security,” Cruz said. “This is spectacularly dangerous for Israel and the United States.”
“First, Joe Biden used 9/11 as an excuse to flee Afghanistan. Now he desecrates this day by paying ransom to the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” wrote Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). “Shameful.”
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) wrote that the decision “will only green-light Iran’s illicit actions and encourage further hostage ‘diplomacy.’”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center said it is a “telling state of affairs” that Washington “allows itself to be manipulated into bestowing a financial bonanza to the godfathers of terrorism on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11.”