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

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, on Sunday defended the tentative U.S. deal to free Americans from Iran and referred to it as “not a bounty.”

The U.S. is attempting to bring home five detained Americans in Iran through a deal involving the release of $6 billion. The deal would see $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets transferred from banks in South Korea to Qatar. Some critics of the deal argue it is putting a bounty on American’s heads, which Smith said was a “misunderstanding.”

“That is 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 bounty because we’re not paying the money. It’s Iran’s money that was sitting in South Korea, so it’s not a bounty.”

Smith responded to former Secretary of State’s Mike Pompeo who criticized the possible exchange deal with Iran. Bream played a clip of Pompeo, who argued the U.S. denied Iran money in the past while the Biden administration is “upending,” that standard.

“Under Secretary Pompeo, these other countries, I’m aware of Italy and India — there were a few others that I hadn’t found — money was transferred from them,” Smith said. “Same situation where Iran had sold stuff to these countries, sanctions kicked in, money hadn’t been paid under Secretary Pompeo. That money was transferred from those countries to Iran. No strings attached. So it is not a bounty and is factually incorrect.”

White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby said last week the”deal is not done,” as negotiations between the U.S. and Iran remain ongoing.

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

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