The Biden administration this week approved releasing the Iranian state's $6 billion, frozen by the United States in response to continued human rights violations carried out by the Islamist regime of the ayatollahs. Some voices were critical of the decision announced by the State Department of Anthony Blinken, including that of the crown prince of Iran in exile, Reza Pahlavi.
Pahlavi spoke out against the possibility of sending the $6 billion that the United States has frozen since the possibility was raised with the aim of freeing a series of hostages arrested by the Iranian Islamist regime. In a new message made through X (formerly Twitter), the heir of the shah again criticized this situation, which he describes as "hostage rescue", instead of prisoner exchange.
Reports indicate the pending finalization and implementation of a deal between the Islamic Republic and the U.S. government. This transaction is being called a “prisoner exchange”. But in reality, the Biden administration is making a $6 billion ransom payment to the Islamic… https://t.co/gt5vZF4WDo
— Reza Pahlavi (@PahlaviReza) September 13, 2023
Use of funds
Reza Pahlavi had earlier condemned to any sending of funds to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a condemnation that regains meaning after the latest massive repressions of the regime of the ayatollahs against the Iranian population after the murder of the young Mahsa Amini. After signing the agreement between the Biden Administration and the Iranian regime, President Ebrahim Raisi recalled that his Government will use the unfrozen funds as it sees fit..
Initially, the Biden Administration made it a condition for the release of funds that they be allocated to humanitarian programs that benefit the Iranian population. "There will be a control of what they can withdraw depending on the aid organizations (...) We will have visibility and oversight of each of those withdrawal requests. And if we don't approve it, it won't be approved for delivery to Iran. Therefore, this is not a blank check for them. It's going to be very monitored. And there will be a lot of oversight before any dollar can be spent," said White House National Security Council coordinator John Kirby.
The Biden Administration is giving $6 billion to the Islamic Republic. What could the regime purchase with this money? pic.twitter.com/3mo1oIdg5N
— National Union for Democracy in Iran (@NUFDIran) August 17, 2023
Beyond the use that can be given to these funds, Reza Pahlavi focuses on the danger of paying for the five citizens of dual Iranian-American nationality. A situation that becomes a payment for hostages, in the same way that it would be done with criminals or pirates. According to Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on the Iranian issue, this could encourage the capture of more American hostages.
The release of funds "will only feed Tehran's appetite to continue taking hostages," he said in an interview with Fox News, noting that by releasing the $6 billion, the U.S. is ignoring why that money was frozen.