Delivery of $400 million in cash to Iran timed to release of prisoners
Noses at the White House are growing longer by the day as new revelations about the ransom paid for our hostages come to light.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that there was a "tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran."
The White House continues to insist that the cash wasn't a ransom. That's their story, and they're sticking to it.
President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have said the payment didn’t amount to ransom, because the U.S. owed the money to Iran as part of a longstanding dispute linked to a failed arms deal from the 1970s. U.S. officials have said that the prisoner release and cash transfer took place through two separate diplomatic channels.
But the handling of the payment and its connection to the Americans’ release have raised questions among lawmakers and administration critics.
The use of an Iranian cargo plane to move pallets filled with $400 million brings clarity to one of the mysteries surrounding the cash delivery to Iran first reported by The Wall Street Journal this month. Administration officials have refused to publicly disclose how and when the transfer took place. Executives from Iran’s flagship carrier, Iran Air, organized the flight from Tehran to Geneva where the cash—euros and Swiss francs and other currencies—was loaded onto the aircraft, these people said.
“Our top priority was getting the Americans home,” said a U.S. official. Once the Americans were “wheels up” on the morning of Jan. 17, Iranian officials in Geneva were allowed to take custody of the $400 million in currency, according to officials briefed on the exchange.
The payment marked the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration announced it had reached with Tehran in January to resolve a decades-old legal dispute traced back to the final days of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. His government paid $400 million into a Pentagon trust fund in 1979 for military parts that were never delivered because of the Islamic revolution that toppled him.
Mr. Obama said on Aug. 4 the payment had to be in cash because the U.S. and Iran have no banking relationship, eliminating the possibility of a check or wire transfer.
The ransom may have encouraged Iran to scoop up more Americans. Most of them are charged with spying or trying to undermine the regime – trumped up charges that the Iranians now know can lead to a very profitable exchange.
No matter the evidence that emerges, the administration will continue to insist that people "move along...nothing to see here" with regard to the ransom. But at this point, the only people who believe them are Obamabots and the professional liars in the Democratic Party.