INTERVIEW: Kerry Pushes Back on GOP Criticism of Iran Prisoner Swap
Secretary of State John Kerry defended this morning the prisoner swap with Iran that secured the release of five Americans.
In a White House statement Sunday, President Obama touted the diplomacy that he said led to the release of five American prisoners in Iran and the implementation of a nuclear deal that he said will ensure that Iran never builds a bomb.
"This is a good day," the president said, "because once again we're seeing what's possible with strong American diplomacy."
In an interview on Fox and Friends, Kerry was asked to respond to criticism from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who argued that the deal sends a message that if an American can be kidnapped, the United States will give away "something meaningful in exchange."
Kerry countered that the Iranians released by the United States had committed violations of international sanctions, which will be lifted as part of the nuclear agreement with Iran.
"A good number were literally a few months away from getting out anyway, so we don't feel like we traded something that was critical to a principle," said Kerry.
Kerry added that Iran wanted additional prisoners released, but the administration rejected the idea of handing over anyone convicted of violent crimes or with links to terrorism.
"I do not believe we have invited further [hostage-taking] situations," he said.
Meantime, three American contractors were reportedly kidnapped from their interpreter's apartment in Baghdad over the weekend.
Kerry said the administration is in "very direct contact with the Iraqi authorities" on the matter and there is a "good sense" of what occurred.
"We have pretty strong indications of where this might have emanated from," he said.
The apartment is well-known in southern Baghdad as a brothel and is subject to frequent raids by Shiite militias, the Washington Post reported.
Watch the full interview above.