Iran To Spend Biden Admin Payment ‘Wherever’ They Need, Despite White House Assurances

(Screenshot / Youtube / TODAY)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Jake Smith Contributor
Font Size:

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Tehran will spend $6 billion in assets shelled out by the Biden administration “wherever we need it,” despite U.S. officials previously stating that it was intended strictly for humanitarian purposes, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Iran struck a deal with the Biden administration in August to release five American prisoners in exchange for the transfer of $6 billion in previously frozen assets, on the condition that the funds would only be used for humanitarian needs. But Raisi said that Iran has the “authority” to use the funds however it sees fit, raising questions about the terms of the deal, according to NBC. (RELATED: ‘No Progress’ In Nuclear Talks With Iran As It Slowly Builds Uranium Stockpile: REPORT)

“This money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money,” Raisi said during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave the final go-ahead last week for the $6 billion transfer from South Korea to Qatar, the country that will dole out the funds back to Iran. Biden administration officials previously said that the funds would be used “for humanitarian aid only,” according to NBC.

But when asked about whether the funds will be used for purposes other than humanitarian needs, Raisi said that all needs of the Iranian people fall under that category, NBC reported

“Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs, so this money will be budgeted for those needs and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government,” Raisi said.

“Iran took full advantage of President Biden’s appeasement strategy. As I have warned, it was full folly for the Biden administration to ever believe the IRGC was negotiating in good faith,” Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The world sees his weakness as Iran laughs at President Biden and runs away with $6 billion… This should serve as a reminder that Iran is not to be trusted, especially as this administration pursues a flawed nuclear agreement with Tehran.”

Raisi said that the five American prisoners – Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz, and two unidentified persons – are in “very healthy condition” under house arrest, and would be freed in “due time,” according to the Associated Press and NBC. However, the families of the prisoners say they have been poorly treated and put through extensive interrogations during their incarceration.

Foreign policy experts and lawmakers have decried the Biden administration’s exchange deal as “ransom,” and said that it is unlikely to cool tensions between Iran and the U.S. They also warned that it may embolden Iran to act even more aggressively toward the U.S. and take more American hostages in the hopes of another payout.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.