State Department’s Suspended Envoy: Just Another Red Flag in Biden’s Flawed Iran Strategy

Republican Texas Representative Mike McCaul criticized the agreement brokered by the Biden administration that would see Iran release five American hostages in exchange for $6 billion in assets and detained Iranians.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, McCaul, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, “Reagan said trust but verify. I have to use the word naïveté.”

McCaul has said that returning these Americans home is his top priority. He acknowledges the importance of the asset but is concerned that the $6 billion would be used to support Iran’s proxy war terror and nuclear weapon aspirations. They are reviving the JCPOA debate, which McCaul claims would eventually lead to Iran’s legalization of a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu has taken a firm stance against this as Prime Minister.

McCaul has stated that he believes America is repeating past mistakes.

McCaul also mentioned how President Biden’s envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, was placed on unpaid leave by the State Department in June as they investigated his security clearance.

According to McCaul, the United States is investigating allegations that the envoy sent to Iran to negotiate the JCPOA improperly handled confidential information.

U.S. and Iranian officials announced Thursday that they had agreed in principle for Iran to release five Iranian Americans currently imprisoned in exchange for billions of dollars frozen in South Korea. Iran has admitted that sanctions have frozen $6 billion to $7 billion, which is part of the accord. Iranian officials indicated the funds would first be handed to Qatar if the deal goes through.

Due to the intricate nature of the financial transactions, the final transfer of the money and the release of the five detainees is expected in the next month or so.

On Friday, the Foreign Ministry of Iran stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran has the authority to decide how to use the previously frozen assets and resources.

Qatar had previously said that the funds would be sent to Iran for a limited number of reasons; hence this denial opposed that policy.

Later in the same show, Democratic Representative for Washington, Adam Smith, justified the prisoner swap plan on the grounds that Qatar would end up with billions of dollars.

Critics of the agreement, as pointed out by Fox News commentator Shannon Bream, have called it an outrageous ransom payment.

“But again, it’s not,” Smith said. “Where were those real concerns during the Trump administration when money from a bunch of other countries was being transferred to Iran with no strings attached, no prisoners returned? It just doesn’t seem like a legitimate complaint based on the facts of the situation.”

Smith argued that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what this money is, pushing back against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s criticism that the deal would mean placing a bounty on Americans’ heads. “It’s not a bounty because we’re not paying the money; it’s Iran’s money sitting in South Korea.”

“Withheld under sanctions,” Bream interjected, adding clarification. Smith further stated, “It’s not a bounty.”