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Key House Democrat says US deal to free Americans from Iran is ‘not a bounty’

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the leading member of the House Armed Services Committee, on Sunday defended the tentative US deal to free Americans from Iran, calling it “no bounty.”

The US is trying to bring home five detained Americans in Iran through a $6 billion deal. The deal would transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets from banks in South Korea to Qatar. Some critics of the deal argue that it puts a bounty on Americans’ heads, which Smith said was a “misunderstanding”.

“That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what this money is,” Smith said in an interview with Shannon Bream on “Fox News Sunday.” “Okay, it’s not a premium, because we’re not paying the money. It’s Iran’s money that was in South Korea, so it’s not a bounty.”

Smith was responding to Mike Pompeo, former secretary of state, who criticized the potential exchange deal with Iran. Bream played a clip of Pompeo claiming that the US has denied Iran money in the past while the Biden administration is “turning that standard on its head.”

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“Under Secretary of State Pompeo, these other countries, I’m aware of Italy and India — there were a few others I hadn’t found — money was transferred from them,” Smith said. “The same situation where Iran had sold stuff to these countries, sanctions were put in place, money was not paid under Secretary Pompeo. That money was transferred from those countries to Iran. No obligations. It is therefore not a bounty and is factually incorrect.”

White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said last week that the “deal is not done” as negotiations between the US and Iran are still ongoing.

“A rigorous process of due diligence and standards would be applied with input from the US Treasury Department,” Kirby told reporters in a briefing on the matter.

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