Barack Obama and John Kerry are now Iran’s personal cash cows. I’m sure Obama’s right-hand-gal Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett is pleased.
Remember after the several billion dollar Iran nuclear deal was signed how everyone, who gave a damn, was outrage we got nothing out of the deal, not the least of which was gaining the freedom of four Americans being held hostage in Iranian prisons?
Well, apparently, the Obama administration is now claiming, there was a separate … but equal … deal for those hostages going on at the same time the Iran nuclear deal was being deliberated. In a nutshell, the Obama administration has not only broken U.S. policy in not paying for hostages, but has now set the precedent and opportunity for more nefarious entities to take Americans and demand ransom.
WASHINGTON—The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.
Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.
The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The settlement, which resolved claims before an international tribunal in The Hague, also coincided with the formal implementation that same weekend of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran, the U.S. and other global powers the summer before.
“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” President Barack Obama said at the White House on Jan. 17—without disclosing the $400 million cash payment.
Senior U.S. officials denied any link between the payment and the prisoner exchange. They say the way the various strands came together simultaneously was coincidental, not the result of any quid pro quo.
“As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim…were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of The Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years.”
But U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.
Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and a fierce foe of the Iran nuclear deal, accused President Barack Obama of paying “a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages.”
“This break with longstanding U.S. policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of Americans, he said.
Since the cash shipment, the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Iranian-Americans. Tehran has also detained dual-nationals from France, Canada and the U.K. in recent months.
At the time of the prisoner release, Secretary of State John Kerry and the White House portrayed it as a diplomatic breakthrough. Mr. Kerry cited the importance of “the relationships forged and the diplomatic channels unlocked over the course of the nuclear talks.”
Meanwhile, U.S. officials have said they were certain Washington was going to lose the arbitration in The Hague, where Iran was seeking more than $10 billion, and described the settlement as a bargain for taxpayers.
Iranian press reports have quoted senior Iranian defense officials describing the cash as a ransom payment. The Iranian foreign ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The $400 million was paid in foreign currency because any transaction with Iran in U.S. dollars is illegal under U.S. law. Sanctions also complicate Tehran’s access to global banks.
“Sometimes the Iranians want cash because it’s so hard for them to access things in the international financial system,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the January cash delivery. “They know it can take months just to figure out how to wire money from one place to another.”
The Obama administration has refused to disclose how it paid any of the $1.7 billion, despite congressional queries, outside of saying that it wasn’t paid in dollars. Lawmakers have expressed concern that the cash would be used by Iran to fund regional allies, including the Assad regime in Syria and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization.
Members of Congress are seeking to pass legislation preventing the Obama administration from making any further cash payments to Iran. One of the bills requires for the White House to make public the details of its $1.7 billion transfer to Iran.
“President Obama’s…payment to Iran in January, which we now know will fund Iran’s military expansion, is an appalling example of executive branch governance,” said Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.), who co-wrote the bill. “Subsidizing Iran’s military is perhaps the worst use of taxpayer dollars ever by an American president.”
Under cover of night the administration used an unmarked cargo plane to airlift pallets of the nearly half a billion dollars in mixed foreign currency into Iran.
Natl security expert Jim Hanson: Cash to Iran was absolutely a ransom & the Obama admin showed they can be rolledhttps://t.co/e3u00WRiEq
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) August 3, 2016
Did the administration seriously believe Iran wasn’t going to parade the money and brag about having rolled “The Great Satan”? This should NOT have been a separate deal. The Iran nuclear deal, shit-brained as it is, should not have been concluded without these four Americans first being released. And then they took a boatload of our Navy sailors and humiliated them to the world.
And then the administration punished the sailors upon return. I would sure love to hear their side of the story, wouldn’t you?
HotAir ponders the MSM silence over this stunning revelation:
The Wall Street Journal also notes that since the cash payment to the Iranian terror regime the Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Americans as well as Persians from France, Canada and the U.K. who were in Iran.
When the Reagan Administration facilitated the sale of arms to Iran in a deal that President Reagan later conceded had “deteriorated in its implementation into trading arms for hostages,” the Democrat-majority House led a full investigation and there were calls for impeachment from the media.
How will the sycophants in the mainstream media and the cowards in the Republican-led congress respond to this obvious ransom deal engineered by Obama?
If there’s any integrity or serious journalism left at America’s major news outlets, this story should blow up today. But, let’s not forget what Ben Rhodes, the man who engineered the Obama policy on Iran, has said about the media and how this administration manipulates them…
HotAir began monitoring the media outlets online at 6:30am today…
I just checked the CNN front page at 9:05am and they have replaced the Trump attack header with … a new Trump attack header. Nicely played Clinton News Network!
UPDATE: 10:10am … CNN updated the photo on its anti-Trump header. Not a headline insight anywhere on the site’s home page regarding the ramsom paid to Iran.
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— Cortney O'Brien (@obrienc2) August 3, 2016