White House defends US-Iran prisoner swap agreement

The White House, in response to criticism from Republicans, has defended the US-Iran prisoner swap deal, emphasizing that Iran will not receive any sanctions relief as part of the arrangement.

According to a US document seen by Reuters on Monday, the United States took the step of waiving sanctions to facilitate the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar.

This action was a necessary component of the previously announced US-Iran prisoner swap.

White House National Security spokesman John Kirby clarified the administration’s position, stating, “If Iran tries to divert the funds, we will take action, and we will reimpose sanctions. I also want to be clear: this is not a form of payment or ransom, and these funds do not come from US taxpayers. Importantly, we have not lifted any of our sanctions on Iran, and Iran will receive no sanctions relief.”

Kirby emphasized the administration’s objective, saying, “Our primary goal is to bring Americans home. In these negotiations, we often find ourselves in an uneven playing field.”

The basic framework of the US-Iran deal, which entails the release of five US citizens detained by Iran in exchange for the transfer of funds and the release of five Iranians held in the United States, was publicly disclosed on August 10.