The White House is defending its planned prisoner swap with Iran.
Earlier this week, the administration announced a deal to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds and release five Iranian prisoners in exchange for five American captives. Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby is now fighting criticisms that the U.S. is making a ransom payment to Iran.
The U.S. insists the funds, which will be overseen by Qatar’s central bank, are limited to humanitarian aid. But Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told NBC News they will use it where they want.
Kirby responded to questions about Raisi’s comments, explaining the regime won’t have direct access to the funds.
Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday the deal was expected to be carried out in the coming days.