Over the weekend, former President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, criticized President Trump for terminating the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars the U.S. makes to Syria, snarkily tweeting, “Right, we have strategic goals. We just refuse to pay for them.”
Trump had tweeted:
That prompted Josh Lederman of NBC News to respond:
That, in turn, triggered Shapiro to carp:
Shapiro was immediately taken to task:
Last February, President Trump had ripped the payment Obama made to Iran:
As Tablet magazine noted, there were those who insisted that the Obama administration had done nothing wrong, parroting the Obama administration, which opined that the government of Iran under Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi had put $400 million for military equipment into the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) account, and the $1.7 billion was simply the $400 million plus $1.3 billion in interest.
But as Lee Smith explained in Tablet;
The Obama White House omitted several key facts.First, when Iran submitted its claim in 1981, the US filed an $817 million counterclaim for Iran’s violations of its obligations under the FMS program. As Rick Richman explained in a 2016 Mosaic article, “with both the claim and the counterclaim still pending, it was possible that Iran owed billions of dollars to the U.S., not the reverse.”
Second, a 2000 law signed by President Bill Clinton, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, said that Iran’s FMS account could not be refunded until court judgments held by the U.S. government against Iran for damages from terrorist acts against American citizens were resolved to America’s satisfaction.
Smith concluded, “In short, Obama ignored the law. Moreover, in releasing those funds to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, he made American taxpayers cover the damages owed by Iran for its acts of terrorism against American citizens.”