Paying ransom to Iran–16h.,b 4
A day after the deal with Iran over its nuclear program was implemented in January, the Obama administration paid $1.7 billion to Iran to settle an old Iranian claim (unfinished business from the 1970s). At the same time, the Islamic Republic released four Americans it held in prison. The timing was striking- It looked for an awful lot like a ransom payment. But the White House in denied it. Last week, the Wall Street Journal published further details, which make it all but impossible for any reasonable observer to deny that the White House paid off the regime in Tehran in ” exchange for the liberty of U.S. citizens: The first installment of $400 million, we now learn, came in cash.
Wooden pallets stacked with euros. Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane.” Foreign currencies were used because transactions with Iran using U.S. dollars are illegal under American law. As Charles Krauthammer remarked, if a company was caught laundering money like this, the CEO would go to jail.
A cargo plane full of currency sounds like the opening scene in a great spy thriller. Except it’s not. It’s the Obama adm. paying off a regime that has been kidnapping and killing Americans for all 37 years of its.
Josh Earnest. “The United States,” he continued, “does not pay ransoms.”
It’s simply how the Iranians do things. Hezbollah, Iran’s praetorian guard in Lebanon. took plenty of Americans and other nationals hostage in Beirut in the 1980s. In order to free them, the Reagan administration gave weapons to Iran, Hezbollah’s patron. What distinguishes the January planeload of cash is that he Obama administration paid ransom not simply for the freedom of American citizens but also to preserve the president’s signature foreign policy initiative. The vaunted Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action turns out to be the culmination of a hostage negotiation.
Let’s look at the details. Administration spokesmen argue that the “$400 million paid out was Tehran’s money to begin with. But that’s not true. The $400 million was a payment received from the shah of Iran for a weapons deal with Washington that was never consummated because he was toppled by the Islamic revolution in 1979. The Clinton administration, as Newsweek’s article reported in January, promised that the settlements would be paid out of the $400 million. But the Clinton White House never reimbursed the Treasury Department, nor did the Bush administration. The $400 million that Obama aides say belongs to Iran should have long ago been distributed to Iran’s American victims and their families. Instead, it was U.S. taxpayers ho compensated the victims of Iranian victims of Iranian terror. And then we paid $400 million a second time, in January, to the Iranians themselves. The $1.3 billion of interest that the United States is supposed to have owed the Iranians is simply a fiction the Obama administration contrived to sweeten the pot, since the United States was under no legal obligation to pay Iran money that was no longer Iran’s. Yes it was ransom, billed to the US taxpayer.
The administration built its Middle East policy around the idea that it was hostage to Iran. America’s military options against Iran and its regional proxies« were. limited, said White House officials. The American military was held hostage by Iran. U.S. allies were also constrained since Iran would take it out on those same American troops if, say, Israel decided to take action against Iran. The administration’s message was that if Americans didn’t want war with an Iran ready to make war, we had no choice no but to sue for peace and pay up. The nuclear deal wasn’t ideal—we conceded on everything from uranium enrichment to inspections—but it was better than war.
The Obama administration used Iran’s reputation as a State that pays no heed to international norms—kidnaps civilians, overruns embassies, backs terror—to push the nuclear deal. In warning critics of the JCPOA that their opposition would lead to war, the White House effectively cowrote Iran’s ransom demands.
And then there’s the administration itself, which struck an agreement over a nuclear weapons program with a regime that at the very same time gave clear evidence that it has 10 interest in abiding by international norms. The empirical evidence is that the clerical regime in Tehran cannot be trusted, and the Obama administration will continue to provide cover for it. No price is too high to pay if it preserves the president’s signature foreign policy initiative.
weekly std, lee smith, wsj, newsweek,