Former Obama administration Undersecretary of State Richard Stengel praised President Joe Biden’s deal with Iran during a recent television appearance.
Stengel, on MSNBC on Monday, argued that Biden’s deal — which involved a hostage swap plus the release of $6 billion to Iran — was a huge win, even going so far as to say that no amount of money would be “too high a price” to pay for the release of American citizens.
“And this administration, the Biden administration, like the Obama administration, like traditional administrations, places a huge premium on getting Americans who are unfairly and illegally held back home,” Stengel said. “And so what is the price for getting an American back home? There is no price for it. The Biden administration is willing to go to the ends of the earth to get these men home.”
Stengel went on to point out the fact that the money had actually come from South Korea but had been frozen because of sanctions against Iran — arguing that because it was not American money, the criticisms were less valid.
“So this wasn’t American money at all. But I would say there is no price that’s too high to pay for the release of Americans,” Stengel repeated. “Again, it’s something that traditionally American administrations do to get Americans back home. It’s a great occasion.”
Critics of the deal have pointed out several key issues — not the least of which being that if the United States sets a precedent by paying a foreign adversary for the release of hostages, that same adversary or any other would have no reason to assume they could not simply kidnap Americans with impunity and receive similar payouts.
Others have noted that, while the deal stipulates all of the $6 billion is to be used for “humanitarian” purposes such as food and medicines, Iran has still received a windfall that could directly or indirectly fund terror abroad or fund further research and development of a nuclear weapon.