Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine who was released by Russia in a 2022 prisoner exchange after being detained for over 2.5 years, on Tuesday rejected criticism of the deal the Biden administration struck with Iran to free five American prisoners.
The U.S. agreed to release $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds in return for Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz and two other so-far unnamed Americans coming back home. The deal also stipulates that Iran can only use the money for “humanitarian transactions.”
But some, including former President Donald Trump, were quick to call out the agreement, saying this would only provide further incentive to U.S. adversaries to take American hostages.
“Once you pay, you always pay, & MANY MORE HOSTAGES WILL BE TAKEN,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. “Our grossly incompetent ‘leader,’ Crooked Joe Biden, gave 6 BILLION DOLLARS for 5 people. Iran gave ZERO for 5.”
Reed, though, told CNN’s “The Source” this is far from the truth, pointing to his own case. He said even when the U.S. refused to negotiate with Russia after it captured former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, the Kremlin went ahead and took Reed hostage anyway, and later on also detained WNBA star Brittney Griner.
“Anyone that is reasonable can see that you refusing to negotiate with these governments does not guarantee that they’re not going to take other hostages,” Reed said.
Last year, Russia also detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the first American journalist to face spying charges in the country since the Cold War.
Reed argued that the main reason foreign governments capture Americans is to show that they have the power to put the U.S. in an embarrassing position, and that this is likely to continue regardless.
“Their incentive for taking Americans hostages is that they’re Americans and they can show that to their own citizens,” he said.
Reed added that he appreciates Biden’s decision in the Iran deal, noting that it must have been challenging to do so ahead of an election year.
“That was probably rooted in his morals and his feeling that he needed to do what was right over politics,” Reed said.