The five Americans held in Iran are already in Doha (Qatar). On Monday, they were released and the hostages took a flight out of Tehran. The release of the five is part of the agreement reached by the Biden Administration with the Islamist regime that, in exchange, can now access the 6,000 million dollars of its funds that were frozen by the Government of the United States.
Five Americans released from detention in Iran on their way home pic.twitter.com/Z4cUpwcfPa
— Ben LaBolt (@WHCommsDir) September 18, 2023
"Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home. Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Sharghi and two citizens who wish to remain private will soon be reunited with their loved ones after enduring years of agony, uncertainty, and suffering. We are grateful to our partners at home and abroad for their tireless efforts to help us achieve this outcome, including the Governments of Qatar, Oman, Switzerland, and South Korea," the White House said in a statement.
After stopping in the capital of Qatar, where they were received by the US ambassador, the five released, along with several of their relatives who traveled to Doha to accompany them, will take another plane to Washington, D.C.
This release comes two days after the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, the young woman who died at the hands of the Iranian regime's law enforcement for not wearing her veil correctly.
Criticism of the agreement
Joe Biden is being criticized for reaching the pact with the Government of Iran. Through his X account (formerly Twitter), Reza Pahlavi, the Iranian crown prince in exile, called the decision of the President of the United States a "ransom" of hostages instead of an "exchange of prisoners," as the White House called it:
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
The Iranian regime's deception
Apart from the release of the five Americans, the Iranian regime pledged to spend the $6 billion released on humanitarian supplies such as medicine and food. However, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was quick to break his word and said he will use them however he wants:
This money belongs to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and naturally, we will decide, the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide to spend it wherever we need it.
In addition, the Iranian president said that for him a humanitarian purpose "means anything that the Iranian people need" and that it will be his government that determines what those needs are.
Despite these statements, the Biden Administration continues to ensure that Iran will not be able to use the released funds at will, as stated by the coordinator of the National Security Council of the White House, John Kirby:
There’ll be a check on what they can withdraw based on aid organizations. We will have visibility and oversight over each of those withdrawal requests. And if we don’t approve it, it won’t get approved for delivery to Iran. So, this is not a blank check for them. It is very much going to be monitored. And there will be quite a bit of oversight before any money can be spent.
On Monday, Kirby announced new sanctions against the Islamic regime although he did not specify what they consist of.