The eldest son of the last shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, spoke out against the Biden administration’s prisoner negotiation with the Middle Eastern country, warning the regime will use the monetary gain however they wish.
“Of course, the principle of paying money for ransom should be wrong to begin with. And when you incentivize a regime that it pays to take hostages or by the way, the costs for each hostage has dramatically increased. God knows if next time they get hostage, how many more billions will have to be assessed for it?” the exiled crown prince said in an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday.
Congress was notified Monday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed off on a deal where Iran will reportedly release five American citizens detained in Iran and, in exchange, the U.S. will release five Iranian citizens being held in the U.S.
Additionally, the negotiation creates a blanket waiver to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian money from South Korea to Qatar without fear of violating U.S. sanctions. No money is going directly to Iran and no U.S. taxpayer funds are being used, Fox News has reported.
“Last time around, we saw what happened to the money that was released to the Iranian regime under the Obama administration,” Pahlavi reacted. “Certainly, it did not end up serving the interests of the Iranian people. It went to further finance the regime’s proxies in Syria and Lebanon. And I don’t think this time it’s going to be any different.”
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the Iranian government will spend the $6 billion it gained in a prisoner exchange with the U.S. “wherever we need it,” in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Tuesday.
“The bottom line is that it does not end up being something that would be in the interests of the Iranian people. It’s going to only, yet again, help the regime continue maintaining itself in power,” Pahlavi said.
“It could be very deflating for the Iranian people to see that the leading country in the world and this administration are willing to actually slap them in the face and reward hostage takers to begin with,” the prince continued.
Under the deal, Iran will only have access to the funds through Qatar’s central bank, and U.S. officials say the bank will ensure Iran only uses the funds for humanitarian purposes.
“Let’s not forget, this is the money, the people of Iran’s money, and they could, in fact, repurpose such frozen assets towards supporting the Iranian people if it is a policy of the maximum support and, for instance, support naval strikes in Iran,” Pahlavi explained.
“If you talk about humanitarian aid, do it directly. Why give it to a regime that is actually murdering its people in Iran and then continuing its wreaking havoc in the region and beyond?” he added.
Iran has not publicly provided a timeline for the release of the American prisoners. Iranian President Raisi says each of them are in good health, however, and that they will be released in “due time.”
The U.S. Department of State did not immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.