Republicans online torched President Biden’s $6 billion deal to free American hostages from the Iranian regime.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Biden had negotiated the release of five American hostages from Iran in exchange for a handful of Iranian nationals serving prison sentences for violating sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Sources told the paper that the U.S. also agreed to unfreeze nearly $6 billion of Iran’s assets in South Korea, transferring the funds into an account in the central bank of Qatar.
Republicans blasted the deal online, with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Iran “shouldn’t profit from holding Americans hostage.”
“Releasing $6 billion to the butchers in Tehran just so American hostages can go to a different type of prison is a terrible deal,” Pompeo wrote. “Iran shouldn’t profit from holding Americans hostage.”
“While I welcome home wrongfully detained Americans, unfreezing $6B in [Iranian] assets dangerously further incentivizes hostage taking [and] provides a windfall for regime aggression,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Jim Risch, R-Idaho, tweeted.
“The Biden Admin must punish those who use Americans as political pawns and work to end this practice,” he added.
“The U.S. government should NEVER negotiate with terrorists, let alone fund them,” New York Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney tweeted.
“Now, the Biden administration is giving the Iranian mullahs $6 billion to finance terrorism and oppression of the Iranian people,” she added.
“Just when the American people thought Biden’s foreign policy couldn’t get any more disastrous, after his failed Afghanistan withdrawal, he kowtows to Iran,” Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Republican, wrote. “The American people deserve better.”
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the criticism.
The American prisoners include Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, who the U.S. government says had all beenwrongfully detained on bogus spying charges. The names of the other two were being withheld by their families, but one is said to be a scientist, the other a businessman.
“We have received confirmation that Iran has released from prison five Americans who were unjustly detained and has placed them on house arrest,” National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement. “While this is an encouraging step, these U.S. citizens – Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi, and two Americans who at this time wish to remain private – should have never been detained in the first place.”
“We will continue to monitor their condition as closely as possible. Of course, we will not rest until they are all back home in the United States,” the statement added. “Until that time, negotiations for their eventual release remain ongoing and are delicate. We will, therefore, have little in the way of details to provide about the state of their house arrest or about our efforts to secure their freedom.”
“We are relieved to learn that Iranian authorities have released five U.S. citizens — Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Sharghi, and two individuals who at this time wish to remain private — from prison to house arrest,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller also said in a statement. “We are in touch with the families of U.S. citizens involved, and we continue to monitor these individuals’ health and welfare closely. While we welcome the news of these individuals’ release from prison to house arrest, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. We continue to work diligently to bring these individuals home to their loved ones. They must be allowed to depart Iran and reunite with their loved ones as soon as possible.”
When asked when the American hostages might be released, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News, “We expect this process to take weeks before they return home to U.S.”
According to the Times, Namazi, Sharghi, Tahbaz and a fourth American were transferred from the notorious Evin Prison to a hotel in the Iranian capital of Tehran, where they will be detained for another few weeks before being allowed to board a plane.
The fifth person, an American woman with dual Iranian citizenship, is said to already have been released on house arrest earlier this year, the Times reported.
Fox News Digital’s Danielle Wallace contributed reporting.