Biden's latest bad agreement with the Iranian government

The more we learn about President Biden’s latest agreement with the Iranian regime, the worse it looks.

On September 11, the State Department told Congress that it plans to move forward with the arrangement that U.S. officials previewed last month by issuing waivers that allow the Iranians to receive some $6 billion in frozen funds held by South Korean banks. Under the plan, the U.S. and Iran are set to carry out a prisoner swap — trading Iranian nationals convicted of or credibly charged with illegally exporting controlled technology to Iran for American citizens wrongfully imprisoned there.

The sordid symbolism of notifying Congress on September 11 aside, Team Biden has created a terrible precedent and is materially aiding the Iranian regime.

As we wrote last month, Tehran will be free to do what it wants with the money, even though the administration says that it will be rigorously overseen by Qatar and used only for food, medicine, and other necessities. In fact, Iran’s president said just that in an interview Wednesday. “This money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money,” he told Lester Holt.

Even if the Iranians conscientiously abide by the restrictions, money is fungible and funds currently being spent on food and medicine can now be diverted to other purposes.

Then, there’s the matter of the criminals that the U.S. plans to release to Iran. Al-Monitor reports that two of the Iranian nationals who will reportedly be released have already been convicted and sentenced to prison terms for evading U.S. laws that prohibit the transfer of certain technology to Iran; Mehrdad Ansari, one of those defendants, had attempted to obtain components that could be used by the Iranian military in its nuclear or missile programs. The other three individuals that the White House will reportedly let go have been charged with illegally exporting lab equipment, transmitting confidential information to someone linked to the Iranian military, and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Iran.

Securing the freedom of U.S. citizens held unjustifiably by dictatorships like Iran is always a worthy goal, but the administration is going too far by sending individuals who have already been convicted of crimes into the hands of one of America’s chief adversaries — and then authorizing the release of funds that are almost certain to assist Iran’s security services, whether directly or indirectly.

Once again, the administration is jacking up the price that this country’s enemies can demand for the return of Americans they seize.

Top administration officials claim that they’re doing this because, as State Department spokesman Matthew Miller put it: “Iran is not going to release these American citizens out of the goodness of their heart. That is not real life. That is not how it works. That was never going to happen.”

Of course, the Iranians would never do that. But the Trump administration was able to secure the release of a hostage held by Iran without providing a cash infusion to the regime. This White House is just an easy mark.

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