News and Commentary

Obama Secretly Paid Iran $400 Million Ransom To Free American Prisoners

Remember the four Americans released by Iran in January which the Obama administration attempted to sell as a “break through” in our relationship with the terror-sponsoring Islamist regime? U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation have just revealed that the prisoner release came only after the Obama administration secretly airlifted what was effectively a $400 million ransom to Tehran.

“Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.”

That $400 million — made in foreign currency to skirt U.S. law — was the first installment of a total of $1.7 billion the administration would pay to the hostile regime over a nearly four-decades old arms deal dispute dating back before the fall of Iran’s final monarch in 1979.

The administration insists that there is nothing to see here, claiming the timing was all a big coincidence. The Obama administration just happened to make that payment (secretly) at exactly the same time as the hostages were released…

“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” said President Barack Obama back on Jan. 17. The president somehow failed to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars secretly shipped on the unmarked cargo plane.

“The settlement, which resolved claims before an international tribunal in The Hague, also coincided with the formal implementation that same weekend of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran, the U.S. and other global powers the summer before,” explains the WSJ.

The two negotiations were “completely separate,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby. “Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of The Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years,” said Kirby.

But there’s one big problem with that “completely separate” claim: U.S. officials admit that Iran demanded the cash in order to let the prisoners go. America shipping over $400 million would help Tehran present the release as a win. In other words, the Obama administration actively helped Iran’s anti-America propaganda, meanwhile, hiding the reality of the situation from the American people.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton called the deal exactly what it was: “a $1.7 billion ransom.” And what has happened since that ransom? Iran has arrested two more Iranian-Americans.

The WSJ provides the following helpful timeline of key events related to the infamous Iran deal, a $100 billion-plus boon for the world’s leading state sponsor of terror:

  • July 2012 U.S. and Iran begin secret negotiations in Oman to resolve the nuclear dispute.
  • September 2013 President Barack Obama has 15-minute phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
  • November U.S., Iran and world powers reach interim nuclear agreement that includes release of $700 million a month in frozen Iranian assets.
  • November 2014 Swiss invite Iran and U.S. to secret talks aimed at freeing Americans jailed in Tehran.
  • July 2015 Iran, U.S. and other powers reach landmark nuclear agreement to constrain Tehran’s nuclear program.
  • Jan. 16, 2016 Iran, U.S. and world powers formally implement nuclear deal.
  • Jan. 17 White House and State Department simultaneously announce prisoner swap and settlement of financial dispute that awards $1.7 billion to Tehran. Iran announced them separately.
  • July Iran announces arrest of third Iranian-American, after acknowledging two others held.

Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.

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