LONDON: Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Britain of paying “blood money” to Iran to secure the release of two British-Iranian nationals held hostage by the Tehran regime.
Pompeo, who has long taken a tough stance against Iran, claimed the £400m ($530m) paid to Tehran would be used to “terrorize” opponents.
Downing Street said it had “rigorous safeguards” in place to ensure the money would not be used for weapons, but rather for “humanitarian” purposes.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosh Ashori were released late Wednesday after years of detention in Iran. Reports claim the plane carrying them to freedom was not allowed to take off until the British money was transferred.
Pompeo tweeted on Wednesday: “The UK has priced the taking and holding of its citizens hostage at $530 million. We stopped paying blood money – not rewarding hostage takers.
He added: “This money will terrorize Israel, the UK and the US. Appeasement is good until it fails – it always does.
Iran has long maintained that the money was owed for an undelivered order for thousands of tanks and other vehicles agreed between the UK and Iran’s pre-revolutionary government.
While conceding the debt was legitimate, Britain was careful to insist that the release of the hostages was not tied to the money.
During his tenure as a top US diplomat, Pompeo oversaw the collapse of the 2015 KJCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) – “the Iran deal” – which led to the reimposition of sanctions against Iran. , as well as the intensification of Iranian nuclear research. activity.
Pompeo’s tough stance on Iran has led State Department officials to conclude he may be in danger, and The Associated Press revealed on Saturday that the department was spending about $2 million per months for his safety.
The former envoy and another former senior official face “serious and credible” threats from Iran, the department said.