Former NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, now a human rights activist, told Newsmax on Monday that the Biden administration's prisoner swap deal with Iran is "ridiculous" and will "encourage their hostage diplomacy."
Five U.S. citizens left Iran and landed in Doha on Monday in a prisoner swap for five Iranians held in the U.S. and the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds in a rare moment of cooperation.
"Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home," President Joe Biden said in a statement.
Iran's Press TV said the five Iranians detained by the U.S. and charged with committing crimes had been freed, an apparent reference to their being granted clemency. Two arrived in Doha, U.S. and Iranian officials said.
Freedom responded on "Newsline": "I think it's ridiculous because the United States classifies Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, so that's why the deal has garnered lots of criticism. Of course, we care about every American soul around the world, but I believe [the] U.S. should not be negotiating with terrorists."
Freedom added: "Releasing the funds will only increase Iran's appetite to keep taking more and more hostages, and they will spend their money funding terrorist attacks against Americans and our allies. So, this will only green light Iran's illicit actions that encourage their hostage diplomacy."
Freedom, 31, who last played in the NBA with the Boston Celtics in the 2021-22 season, said that the only people who are "going to benefit from the $6 billion are [Iran Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp.], so for the Iranian people it will only bring more pressure, more unrest, more torture, and more executions."
Reuters contributed to this report.
Theodore Bunker ✉
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.