The Islamic Republic of Iran has generated a huge windfall of up to $15.7 billion for illegally taking American hostages as part of a ruthless hostage policy perfected since its 1979 revolution, according to a new think tank report.
The publication of the report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) coincides with the Biden administration Monday’s announcement that he released at least $6 billion in sanctions relief to the theocratic state as part of a prisoner swap.
The US-based MEMRI reports An Iranian security official who said in August: “This swap operation is actually one of the most successful and effective negotiations [efforts] will ever happen in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We essentially freed some Iranian prisoners in exchange for some prisoners whose sentences were about to end, and on the other hand, we were able to free up billions of dollars of our committed resources without committing anything else.”
Fox News Digital sent several press inquiries to the State Department for reaction to the MEMRI report, specifically the $15.7 billion that is said to be the amount of money paid to the Iranian regime by the US government since 1981.
WHITE HOUSE FINALIZES IRAN PRISONER SWAP DEAL, BIDEN SAYS ‘MAKES FIVE FAMILIES ENTIRE AGAIN’
Previously, the State Department strongly defended it Paying $6 billion to Iran in the last prisoner exchange.
In a statement to Fox News Digital last week, he noted that “these funds will be transferred to restricted accounts in Qatar and the United States will have oversight as to how and when these funds are used,” a State Department spokesman said. “It is longstanding U.S. policy to ensure that our sanctions do not impede the flow of food, medicine and other humanitarian goods and services to ordinary people, no matter how reprehensible their governments are.”
US-sanctioned Iranian regime President Ebrahim Raisi disputed the State Department’s claim, saying his regime would spend the $6 billion “where we need it”.
The MEMRI study provides a rare window into the Iranian regime’s hostage strategy to secure major concessions from the US and other Western countries. He noted that the precedents set by former Democratic Presidents Carter and Obama for sending large profits to the Iranian regime encouraged Tehran to ask for more funds based on the math, according to Iran experts and Iranian regime officials.
While Democratic presidents have faced intense criticism for sending a total of $15.7 billion to the Iranian regime, former Republican President Reagan was accused of sending military weapons to Tehran in the Iran-contra scandal to secure the release of seven hostages held in Lebanon. Iran’s main strategic partner, the US-designated terrorist movement Hezbollah, captured Americans in Lebanon in the early 1980s. Reagan denied that the arms sale to Iran was an arms-for-hostages deal.
Just last week, an Iranian security official boasted to the Fars news agency that “this amount of money released in Iran this time is four or five times more than [the amount released] the last time” in relation to 2016 when President Obama transferred $1.7 billion in cash to the rulers of Tehran.
MEMRI has identified and translated for the first time the Iranian security official’s quote appearing on Iran’s regime-controlled Fars News Agency, which is linked to the US-designated terrorist entity Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). .
FBI Says China, Iran Using New TACTICS TO TARGET US JUDGES
Prisoner swap deals between Democratic administrations and the Islamic Republic have resulted in alleged ransom payments to Iran, according to critics.
Iran expert for the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Saeed Ghasseminejad, told Fox News Digital, “The Trump administration secured the release of prisoners without ransom payments, relying instead on mere exchanges. While exchanging people who were guilty of nefarious activities such as While eliminating sanctions and proliferating with innocent American hostages is not ideal, it is still a better option than paying ransom.”
MEMRI titled its report “Politics of the Iranian regime: Arresting Westerners and releasing them in exchange for economic and political gain.”
According to MEMRI, Iran’s strategy of holding Westerners hostage for concessions “emerged as soon as its Islamic regime took power in 1979, with the kidnapping of American diplomats. The report claimed they were released 444 days later in exchange for $8 billion and an American commitment not to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs.”
Iran’s apparently successful policy of kidnapping Western hostages in exchange for broad concessions has included people from Sweden, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Australia and other countries.
Ayelet Savyon, director of MEMRI’s Iran Studies Project and author of the hostage report, wrote: “This success has been the basis for Iran’s continued use of the practice, and Iranian officials have in recent years recommended several times that American or British hostages. and released in exchange for billions of dollars to stimulate the Iranian economy or for political gains from Western countries.”
US SEIZURES NEARLY 1 MILLION BARRELS OF IRANIAN OIL BEING TRANSFERRED TO CHINA
UN NUCLEAR INSPECTION SAYS ‘NO PROGRESS’ IN MONITORING IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM: REPORT
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and MEMRI have noted that Iran received billions in other unlocked sanctions believed to be part of this week’s prisoner swap announcement.
Previously, the US unfroze $10 billion to Iran in frozen funds held in Iraq. Iran International recently reported in July that an Iranian official said that Iraq had released the $10 billion to Tehran. The MEMRI report said, “According to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, negotiations to release billions of dollars more in Japan are ongoing.”
Iranian analysts and observers have noted that the clerical regime in Tehran is emboldened by the effectiveness of its reported hostage strategy targeting Americans and other Western countries.
Former Iranian Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaee told Iran’s Channel 2 in 2021 that he would take 1,000 Americans hostage in the event of a U.S. attack on Iran and demand a $1 billion ransom from the U.S. for each of them. Rezaee is currently vice president for financial affairs.
A 2017 Reuters news agency “investigation named 30 dual Iranian-Western citizens arrested in Iran by the IRGC in the previous two years,” MEMRI noted.
In 2016, then-President Obama funneled $1.7 billion in cash to Iran to win its release Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and four additional American prisoners of war from Tehran.
The Obama administration reportedly sent $1.5 million to Iran to secure it release of three Americans — Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal — who were kidnapped by the Iranian regime in 2009.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The United Kingdom is said to have paid Iran $530 million for the release of British-Iranian aid Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Anoosheh Ashoori, and two additional hostages in 2022. Tehran claimed it was owed the money.