Republicans and Democrats responded to the Biden administration authorizing a transfer of $6 billion to Iran through international banks as part of a prison swap deal.
The payment will release five detained American citizens in Iran and also the release of five Iranian citizens held in the United States, AP reports.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken approved the sanctions waivers, while Congress was informed of the waiver decision on Monday.
While the Iran deal was previously known, it surprised Congress that five Iranians would also be released as part of the deal.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress responded to the news.
“Terrible, terrible strategy,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.). “It’s the largest payout for the imprisoned that has ever been conceived of. This is rewarding evil with financial remuneration, and the Biden administration is way out of bounds on this one,”
“I suspect we’ll have more people kidnapped pretty soon,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “It’s a good deal for the Iranians.”
“I think it’s par for the course [of the Biden administration],” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “As we continue to make concessions, whether it’s in Iran or Venezuela, all you’re doing is encouraging the taking of more Americans.”
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said that she was “very upset” that the US was “getting into hostage negotiations,” noting the deal “just encourages bad behavior by the Iranians.”
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said that she was “very upset” that the United States was “getting into hostage negotiations.” She noted that the deal “just encourages bad behavior by the Iranians.”
Other Republican lawmakers blasted the deal on X:
“Today’s news confirms there has already been a side deal, including a $6 billion ransom and the release of Iranian operatives,” wrote Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Cruz asserted that the revelations represent only the tip of the iceberg regarding the “staggering concessions” made by the Biden administration to the Iranian regime.
Cruz also alleged that Biden is poised to transfer an additional $10 billion to Iran, while allowing them to bypass oil sanctions, resulting in the transfer of “hundreds of billions of dollars” to the Iranian government.
“The Biden administration must keep their deal secret because if they disclosed it, the law requires them to come to Congress and defend it, and this appeasement is utterly indefensible,” he said, adding that the administration “will continue lying about their policies until Congress forces them to do otherwise.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) described the deal as blackmail, which will serve to “finance” the Iranian economy.