Did Obama pay $400 million to free American hostages in Iran?
By Natalia Castro
The United States is known for never putting a price on the heads of Americans lives, but President Obama might have just decided against this precedent. The Wall Street Journal of this week revealed President Obama sent $400 million in cash to Iran, a known state sponsor of terrorism, at the same time as the release of 4 Americans held captive.
It appears there is good reason to question this act, as the $400 million was only the first bargaining chip of the $1.7 billion which Iran claims the United States owes for the settlement of failed arms deals from the 1970s.
Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, stated that President Obama has paid a “$1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages.” Hard to argue with that, since President Obama avoided established transfer laws in relation to Iran in order to ensure cash was moved to the nation.
U.S. regulation 31 CFR 560.427 explicitly prevents prohibits any financial transfer in the form of “banking services, money remittance services; loans, guarantees, letters of credit, or other extensions of credit; or the service of selling or redeeming traveler’s checks, money orders, and prepaid access products” to Iran or the Government of Iran.
Yet President Obama evaded this law by transferring the funds in a foreign currency as cash. Josh Earnest, the White house press secretary stated that the payment had to be delivered in cash due to the lack of a banking relationship.
The relationship does not exist because it is illegal under U.S. law, but the foreign cash not only skirts legality but is also would have been untraceable if not for the Wall Street Journal disclosure.
Iran, which has been on the State Department list of terror sponsors since January 18, 1984, now has $400 million in cash, with possibly another $1.3 billion on the way.
The aforementioned Wall Street Journal expressed lawmakers concerns, noting that the cash could “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 money purportedly used to negotiate the release of U.S. hostages now has the opportunity to continue to endanger millions of U.S. lives through the terrorism which is being funded.
The White House maintains that the deal between the cash transfer and the hostages occurred separately. Sure they did. We’ve owed Iran the money for decades, but we transferred it when hostages just happened to be held by Iran. Even if this was true the implications are even worse for President Obama — then the money was handed over for nothing.
Either way, this represents the exact fear the American people have in Obama’s dealings with Iran. The cash payments show that the Iran deal, including the nuclear agreement, is just a bribe — that will do nothing to enhance national security.
As Iran continues their dangerous crusade to expand terror in the Middle East the U.S. has stopped fighting Tehran and begun supporting it. President Obama has given the state permission for nuclear capacity and now he has priced American lives in order to fund their war against us.
Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.