As Iran was releasing the four American hostages they were holding, the Obama administration was sending $400 million to the Iranians. It was a hostage payment in direct opposition to US policy and it is an invitation to more hostage taking.
The excuse is that it was part of a settlement reached over a 1979 failed arms deal – we gave them interest for a deal reached before the Ayatollah took control and seized Americans hostage. However, the $400 million was exchanged in cash at the exact time of he release and it was hidden from Congress, please read on.
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.
Obama forgot to mention the transfer of $400 million.
“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.
Since the payoff, the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Iranian-Americans.
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, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Some have questioned referring to this as a ransom so we have added to the article. It was definitely a ransom if one looks at the original article carefully.
IT WAS A RANSOM
The negotiators originally established a formula of people for people: American nationals held by Iran for Iranian nationals held by America. But then the Iranians started demanding billions of dollars as well.
Iranian officials later bragged they coerced the ransom out of U.S. diplomates —
The U.S. and Iran entered into secret negotiations to secure the release of Americans imprisoned in Iran in November 2014… The discussions… initially focused solely on a formula whereby Iran would swap the Americans detained in Tehran for Iranian nationals held in U.S. jails… But around Christmas, the discussions dovetailed with… the old arms deal. The Iranians were demanding the return of $400 million…
They also wanted billions of dollars as interest accrued since then… a report by an Iranian news site close to the Revolutionary Guard, the Tasnim agency, said the cash arrived in Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on the same day the Americans departed. Revolutionary Guard commanders boasted at the time that the Americans had succumbed to Iranian pressure. “Taking this much money back was in return for the release of the American spies,” said Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Guard’s Basij militia, on state media.
THE ADMINISTRATION HID THE DETAILS FROM CONGRESS
Lawmakers have been pressing the administration for six months to provide more details about how and where the money went, among other things because Iran has been transferring money for military purposes. They’ve made little progress.
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.
The U.S. and United Nations believe Tehran is subsidizing the Assad regime’s war in Syria through cash and energy shipments. Iran has acknowledged providing both financial and military aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and deploying Iranian soldiers there.
THE ADMINISTRATION USED CASH TO DODGE THE EFFECTS OF SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN
Banks don’t want to touch Iran’s financial system because of years of sanctions for terrorism, money laundering, etc.
The State Department and Treasury Department enlisted the Swiss and Dutch governments to route hard cash to Iran to circumvent those problems.
The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said… “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.”…
Mr. Kerry and the State and Treasury departments sought the cooperation of the Swiss and Dutch governments…
The Obama administration transferred the equivalent of $400 million to their central banks. It was then converted into other currencies, stacked onto the wooden pallets and sent to Iran on board a cargo plane.
IRAN HAS TAKEN MORE HOSTAGES AND WANTS ANOTHER RANSOM
Tehran went back to arresting American hostages after releasing the last round, and are now seeking another billion dollar deal in the last six months of the administration.
Since the cash shipment… 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.”…
Friends and family of the Namazis believe the Iranians are seeking to increase their leverage to force another prisoner exchange or cash payment in the final six months of the Obama administration.
Mr. Kerry and other U.S. officials have been raising their case with Iranian diplomats… Iranian officials have demanded in recent weeks the U.S. return $2 billion in Iranian funds that were frozen in New York in 2009. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the money should be given to victims of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks.
We actually knew this but it’s news again.
Correction: We originally wrote that the money was in exchange for the US sailors but it was for the four American hostages. We apologize for the error.