The state of U.S.-Iranian relations under President Barack Obama’s leadership may be one of the most controversial issues of his two-terms — and a shocking new revelation has cast his actions in an even more unfavorable light.
Reports have revealed that the Obama administration authorized a secret $400 million payout to the Iranian government the same day the Islamist government in Tehran released four American journalists — and at least one top Republican congressman called it “ransom” payment.
In 1980, President Ronald Reagan established the United States firm commitment to not negotiate with terrorists. As the Republican presidential candidate, Reagan campaigned on a promise to take a firm stance against global terrorism — and established a precedent that lasted over 30 years as a cornerstone of American foreign policy.
It would seem Obama failed to get the memo.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources made up of U.S. congressional officials and European authorities, the Obama administration secured the millions in cash from central banks in Switzerland and the Netherlands, stacked the money on wooden pallets, and flew it directly to Tehran inside an unmarked cargo plane.
The Obama administration has since scrambled to explain its actions as nothing more than the first payment of a controversial $1.7 billion settlement that the administration promised to refund Iran from a decades-old failed arms deal signed in 1979, before the Islamic revolution overthrew the pro-U.S. leader in the country.
“As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim … were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “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.”
However, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton — an outspoken opponent of the Iran nuclear deal from the beginning — accused the Obama of making the deal as “a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages.”
To Cotton’s point, it’s not often that debt payments are exchanged between sovereign nations on wood pallets loaded with dollar bills, euros and yen that were withdrawn from foreign backs and loaded in the back of an unmarked plane — unless there’s something those nations want to keep under wraps.
— The Horn editorial team