Legislation would force Obama to disclose $1.7 billion ‘ransom payment’ to Iran

by WorldTribune Staff, June 1, 2016

A bill filed by a pair of Republican lawamkers seeks to force the Obama administration to disclose if a $1.7 billion payment to Iran was “ransom” for the release of 10 U.S. sailors who were captured by the Iranian military.

Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas filed the legislation, titled the No Impunity for Iranian Aggression at Sea Act. The bill would force the White House to issue a report to Congress detailing whether it paid Iran $1.7 billion in taxpayers’ funds to Iran as part of the hostage release.

Iran detained 10 U.S. sailors in January.
Iran detained 10 U.S. sailors in January.

The legislation also would impose sanctions on Iran for possible breach of Geneva Convention rules governing legal military detainment, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon.

“The Obama administration cannot just focus on its inherently flawed nuclear deal and hope inflammatory incidents like this blow over,” Pompeo said.” The implications for the safety of Americans and the U.S. military are too great.”

Pompeo and Cornyn noted that the Obama administration released the funds to Iran just one day after it released several U.S. citizens from prison.

“After the Iranians captured ten U.S. Navy sailors, President Obama mentioned these brave men and women only in passing in his last State of the Union address,” Pompeo told the Free Beacon.

“Since then, instead of investigating whether the Iranians violated the Geneva Convention and the right of innocent passage, the Obama administration has only offered apologies and then fired an American Naval officer. There has been no criticism of the Iranians, no public explanation of why these Americans were forced on their knees, hands on their heads, or why they were forced to confess—nothing from President Obama that would send a signal that this is an unacceptable way to treat American sailors.”

Pompeo said that he and Cornyn are seeking to ensure there are “consequences on the Iranians responsible.”

Rep. Randy Forbes, Virginia Republican, disclosed to the Free Beacon last month that classified details surrounding Iran’s detaining of the U.S. sailors are being withheld by the administration. It could be more than a year before this information becomes public, Forbes said.

“I think that when the details actually come out, most Americans are going to be kind of taken aback by the entire incident, both how Iran handled it and how we handled it,” Forbes said. “I think that’s going to be huge cause for concern for most Americans. That’s why I’ve encouraged members of Congress to get that briefing so they do know exactly what did take place.”