The US Department of State raised concerns about the Iranian regime's ongoing intimidation of the families of slain protesters and journalists.

Spokesman Matthew Miller noted on Thursday that this marks the fourth time in the last two weeks that Mahsa Amini's father has been summoned for questioning by the Iranian authorities.

He stated, "The world is watching its treatment of these families and the ongoing intimidation of journalists and abuse of peaceful protesters, and we will continue to watch it closely and take whatever steps are appropriate to respond to it."

The comments come in the wake of the recent release of approximately $6 billion in Iranian assets frozen abroad by the US government. This release is part of a larger deal that includes the exchange of five US prisoners held in Iran for five Iranians detained by the United States. However, the move has sparked controversy, with many Iranians condemning it as a “ransom payment”.

Notably, the hostage exchange deal left unresolved three other US cases – Jamshid Sharmahd, Afshin Vatani, and Shahab Dalili.

During a hearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress on Thursday, concerns were raised that the deal does not effectively deter further hostage-taking and allows the Iranian regime to divert resources meant for humanitarian purposes toward security forces, missile programs, and proxy groups. It also threatens to undermine the international sanctions regime.

However, Miller reiterated that the released funds would only be accessible to Iran for humanitarian purposes, such as acquiring food, medicine, and other necessities that directly benefit the Iranian people rather than the regime.

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