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September 13, 2023

NIAC Calls Out Hypocrisy of Trump and Allies on Iran Prisoner Swap

NIAC President Jamal Abdi released the following statement concerning criticism leveled by Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers against the Biden Administration’s effort to free wrongfully detained Iranian Americans:

“It is disturbing and disheartening that we are seeing lies and politicization of the prisoner swap process with Iran, led by cynical politicians. 

Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are lying about their own record in order to score political points, at the risk of tanking the prisoner swap before Iranian Americans are freed. Despite the former president’s claims, two Americans were released by Iran during Trump’s presidency at the same time that Iran was allowed to purchase non-sanctioned goods through a channel established by the Trump administration. This is no coincidence and echoes what we are seeing today. 

Moreover, the funds being released for Iran to purchase non-sanctioned goods were accumulated with the blessing of the Trump Administration, which allowed South Korea to continue purchasing Iranian oil.

Meanwhile, Iran’s president is muddying the waters to benefit his own political fortunes by falsely suggesting Iran will have full control over these funds. We can expect hawks in the U.S. to seize on this as evidence of their false conspiracies about the prisoner swap. 

The prisoner swap can be a win for Americans and the Iranian people provided that it is defended from the hawks in Washington and Tehran who don’t want to see it happen. If the process plays out, five Iranian Americans will be reunited with their families and Iranian money will be used to purchase food and medicine as intended. We can both condemn the reprehensible hostage taking of Iran’s government while welcoming the release of those wrongfully detained, but instead we are seeing cynical attacks from politicians thousands of miles from Evin Prison.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the murder of Mahsa Amini that sparked the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising in Iran, NIAC urges that, instead of playing politics with the lives of Americans and Iranians, policymakers focus on actions that can support the people of Iran – including issuing humanitarian parole for Iranians, increasing efforts to support internet freedom in Iran, and identifying sanctions that are unwittingly helping the Islamic Republic repress Iranians.


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