Iranian President Contradicts Biden Admin, Claims He Will Use $6 Billion Exchanged for American Hostages However He Wants
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi contradicted Biden administration promises about how money unfrozen by the American government will be spent during a clip from a forthcoming interview with NBC’s Lester Holt released on Tuesday.
Raisi’s comments came one day after the administration announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had signed a waiver last week so $6 billion could be released back to the Iranian government as part of a deal under which five American hostages are to be exchanged for five Iranian nationals presently being held in the U.S.
In a statement, National Security Council Spokeswoman Adrienne Watson explained that “On September 8, Secretary Blinken undertook a procedural step in an ongoing process to ensure Iranian funds can move from one restricted account to another and remain restricted to humanitarian trade.”
“As we have said from the outset, what is being pursued here is an arrangement wherein we secure the release of 5 wrongfully held Americans,” she continued.
But in a clip from Raisi’s conversation with Holt, the Iranian president disputed that claim:
LESTER HOLT: What is your expectation of its [the money’s] use. We’re told that it’s for humanitarian purposes — food and medicine. Do you believe you have the right to use that money in any way that you see fit?
EBRAHIM RAISI: This money belongs to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and naturally, we will decide, the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide to spend it wherever we need it. How to spend our money of course, it is under the authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
HOLT: So if I hear you clearly that it will be used for more than humanitarian purposes in your view?
RAISI: Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people need, so this money will be budgeted for those needs. And the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government.
In the past, the Iranian government has spent billions of dollars supporting terrorists throughout the Middle East and fighting bloody proxy wars from Yemen to Lebanon.
The Biden administration has said that the $6 billion itself will be controlled by a Qatari bank that will only authorize transactions for humanitarian projects, but critics have pointed out that Iran could effectively spend the money on other pursuits by diverting funds previously reserved for humanitarian purposes elsewhere.
Watch above via MSNBC.
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