Grassley wants more info on Biden deal for Iran hostages

NEW HARTFORD — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is joining the chorus of critics accusing the Biden Administration of releasing six-billion dollars to Iran in order to secure the release of five Americans being held hostage.

Grassley and fellow Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina have sent a letter, asking the White House about what they’re calling a “secret deal” with Iran. “We simply want answers,” Grassley says, “with some of the answers we want: Have you thought about paying for release of hostages, as important as is to get Americans home, for their own benefit as well as the benefit of their family and friends, are you going to encourage more hostage taking in the future?”

A New York Times report says President Biden negotiated the release of the hostages in exchange for unfreezing Iran’s assets in South Korea, transferring the near-six-billion dollars to an account in the central bank of Qatar. In a tweet on Monday, Grassley said, “That’s a lot of money to fund more terrorism + will make taking Americans hostage more likely.”

Grassley talked with Iowa reporters in a conference call on Tuesday morning. “If they think Uncle Sam is Uncle Sucker to pay X-number of dollars for every person you take in some foreign country,” Grassley says, “it puts a dollar on the head of every American who’s traveling to some of these countries.” According to the Times, Biden administration officials have declined to comment or to confirm details about the agreement.

Grassley is incensed the U.S. would negotiate with Iran, which he says is negotiating with terrorists. “They’re the leading country promoting terrorism around the world,” Grassley says. “They’re developing ICBMs. They’re developing the hydrogen bomb. If we want to give them more money to do more of their dastardly tricks around the world, particularly killing Americans.”

Reports say three of the Americans were being held in Iran on unsubstantiated charges of spying. The other two are reportedly a scientist and a businessman.