Finally: State Department admits release of $400 million to Iran tied to hostages

The Obama administration has finally admitted what everyone in the world has known since it was revealed that a $400-million cash payment was made to Iran on the same day that five Americans being held hostage were released.

The money was a ransom payment to get our people back.

It fell to the State Department to deliver the humiliating news to the American people, the White House being too cowardly to admit the truth itself.  Spokesman John Kirby substituted the word "leverage" for ransom, but after he described the transaction, it was clear that he was giving the dictionary definition of a quid pro quo for the hostages.

Kirby tied himself in knots trying to put lipstick on the pig:

"Payment of the $400 million was not done until the prisoners were released," Kirby said, according to an unofficial transcript. While he refused to provide a "tick-tock" of the release of the money and the prisoners, "they came together near simultaneously," Kirby said. "We retained maximum leverage until the Americans were released."

The admission came after the Wall St. Journal reported that the four Americans were released through a carefully orchestrated deal that included removing sanctions from Iran Air the day before the release of U.S. Pastor Saeed AbediniWashington PostTehran Bureau Chief Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati and a businessman Nosratollah Khosrawi-Roodsari. All four are Iranian-born, dual U.S.-Iranian citizens who were visiting or working in Iran when they were detained.

The shipment, on pallets loaded with Euros, Swiss Franks and other currency, was loaded onto an Iranian cargo plane in Geneva, Switzerland, but not allowed to depart for Iran until a Swiss Air Force craft with the Americans on board was allowed to depart from Tehran, the Journal reported.

President Obama denied on Aug. 4 that the payment was tied to the detainees’ release, saying the money was the first installment of the lifting of sanctions called for by the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. It was money the United States owed Iran from a failed arms deal that predated the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran that brought the current government into power, the White House said.

“We do not pay ransom for hostages,” Obama said at the time.

Finally, Fox News's James Rosen was able to corner Kirby and posed a question that he couldn't dodge.

“In basic English you are saying you wouldn’t give [Iran] the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?” asked a reporter at Thursday’s State Department briefing.

“That’s correct,” Kirby responded.

Republicans on the Hill had a field day, and the coming hearings should be entertaining, given that the administration will no doubt find other creative words to describe the money transfer as anything but "ransom."

Thomas Lifson adds: This is low and slow and right over the plate for Donald Trump.  Does HIllary support this ransom?  Would she commit to never repeat the Obama move to pay Iran for returning hostages?

The Obama administration has finally admitted what everyone in the world has known since it was revealed that a $400-million cash payment was made to Iran on the same day that five Americans being held hostage were released.

The money was a ransom payment to get our people back.

It fell to the State Department to deliver the humiliating news to the American people, the White House being too cowardly to admit the truth itself.  Spokesman John Kirby substituted the word "leverage" for ransom, but after he described the transaction, it was clear that he was giving the dictionary definition of a quid pro quo for the hostages.

Kirby tied himself in knots trying to put lipstick on the pig:

"Payment of the $400 million was not done until the prisoners were released," Kirby said, according to an unofficial transcript. While he refused to provide a "tick-tock" of the release of the money and the prisoners, "they came together near simultaneously," Kirby said. "We retained maximum leverage until the Americans were released."

The admission came after the Wall St. Journal reported that the four Americans were released through a carefully orchestrated deal that included removing sanctions from Iran Air the day before the release of U.S. Pastor Saeed AbediniWashington PostTehran Bureau Chief Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati and a businessman Nosratollah Khosrawi-Roodsari. All four are Iranian-born, dual U.S.-Iranian citizens who were visiting or working in Iran when they were detained.

The shipment, on pallets loaded with Euros, Swiss Franks and other currency, was loaded onto an Iranian cargo plane in Geneva, Switzerland, but not allowed to depart for Iran until a Swiss Air Force craft with the Americans on board was allowed to depart from Tehran, the Journal reported.

President Obama denied on Aug. 4 that the payment was tied to the detainees’ release, saying the money was the first installment of the lifting of sanctions called for by the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. It was money the United States owed Iran from a failed arms deal that predated the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran that brought the current government into power, the White House said.

“We do not pay ransom for hostages,” Obama said at the time.

Finally, Fox News's James Rosen was able to corner Kirby and posed a question that he couldn't dodge.

“In basic English you are saying you wouldn’t give [Iran] the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?” asked a reporter at Thursday’s State Department briefing.

“That’s correct,” Kirby responded.

Republicans on the Hill had a field day, and the coming hearings should be entertaining, given that the administration will no doubt find other creative words to describe the money transfer as anything but "ransom."

Thomas Lifson adds: This is low and slow and right over the plate for Donald Trump.  Does HIllary support this ransom?  Would she commit to never repeat the Obama move to pay Iran for returning hostages?