UANI Statement On U.S. Ransom Payment To Iranian Regime

(New York, N.Y.) — United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) Chairman Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace released the following joint statement today following reports that the Biden administration has agreed to unfreeze around $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets and release Iranian nationals imprisoned in the U.S. in exchange for long-held American hostages:

 “American hostages in Iran have suffered unimaginable cruelties at the hands of the Iranian regime, and UANI welcomes the news that they may soon be returned to their families. At the same time, however, we are deeply concerned that the Biden administration is further undermining U.S. sanctions on Iran’s primary mode of funding global terrorism – oil and gas – and fearful that Tehran will further invest in the instruments of terror and repression against innocent civilians at home and abroad.

“We must recognize that money is fungible and this deal stacks the deck against Americans and all critics of the Iranian regime. Traveling to the Islamic Republic is now riskier for dual nationals, and being a critic of the regime’s malign behavior is more dangerous than ever before, due to the precedent set by the Biden administration - that it pays for Tehran to target Americans, whenever and wherever they may be.

“This also sends the wrong message to rogue states that they can simply adopt Iran’s hostage diplomacy playbook and be rewarded for the practice. U.S. allies and partners may likewise question our commitment to using financial tools to punish Tehran for its aggression as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis will welcome the prospect of increased funds for terrorism.

“President Biden should pursue a strategy that holds Iran accountable for targeting Americans, brings the hostages home under terms deterring future hostage-taking, and ensures that Iranians protesting against the Islamic Republic are not hindered by a stronger regime. But the contemplated exchange does not achieve those objectives.”