The only thing more pathetic than the Obama administration paying the Islamist Republic of Iran ransom for American hostages, and thereby ensuring more Americans will be taken hostage by thug regimes around the world, is that they expect us to believe, despite evidence to the contrary, that they didn’t.
First, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry sidestepped Congress when negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran. Now we’re learning they also sidestepped America’s long-standing policy of not paying ransom for hostages when they secretly shipped $400 million to Tehran last January on the very same day American hostages were released.
The White House now says this was just the down payment on the $1.7 billion settlement it had come to with Iran on an almost four decades old dispute.
Once again, President Obama found a way to go around a U.S. law that got in the way of him doing what he wanted to do.
If it’s that simple and the payment had absolutely no connection to the hostage release, why did Obama leave out that little $400 million detail when announcing the historic deal at the White House? Why all the secrecy around making it happen? Why is the money flown in on an unmarked cargo plane? Why refuse to explain, even when Congress asks, how the payment is being made? And why do senior Iranian officials publicly claim the payment was in fact a ransom payment?
Once again, Obama found a way to go around a U.S. law that got in the way of him doing what he wanted to do. In this case, the administration was hell-bent on legacy building, and Obama wanted as part of his legacy a nuclear deal with Iran, a deal we suspected then and now know was much more beneficial to Iran than the U.S. and our allies.
Iran, for its part, wanted money. That’s because economic sanctions were working and making it harder for Iran to get access to free flowing capital that they could then pass along to their pals in Hezbollah and Assad in Syria. Terrorism isn’t a cheap business.
But, for good reason, it is illegal under U.S. law to make any transaction with Iran that involves U.S. dollars. So the Obama negotiating whiz team found a way to break the spirit of the law without actually breaking the word of the law. They sent U.S. dollars to banks in Switzerland and the Netherlands, had them changed to foreign currencies, including euros and Swiss francs, and then put them on a plane and shipped them to Tehran. Perhaps not a textbook example of money laundering, but you get the idea.
The White House response to all this? Nothing to see here. It’s all coincidence. Oh, and by the way, that $1.7 billion settlement we negotiated is a really good deal and the American taxpayer should be thankful we stood our ground and didn’t give the Iranians all they were asking for.
For the record, four American hostages, held on bogus charges, were released by Iran. In return, we released seven Iranian nationals facing charges in the U.S., and said we’d stop going after 14 others that were on an international police agency watch list. And it was on top of that lopsided agreement that we also threw in $400 million euros, francs, whatever.
And where do things stand today? Pretty much where you’d expect. Congress is mad and demanding the White House explain itself. Administration spokesmen say it’s all ado about nothing. Meantime, three more Americans are now being held hostage and Iran is back at the table demanding $2 billion in frozen funds be handed over.