by WorldTribune Staff, August 18, 2016
The $400 million cash payment to Iran that President Barack Obama insists was not “ransom” was reportedly delayed until American hostages were released.
The U.S. did not allow Iran to pick up the cash from Switzerland until after a Swiss Air Force plane carrying the hostages left Teheran on Jan. 17, the Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 17.
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said the new revelations are a “disgrace” while Sen. John McCain said the news confirms that the payment was indeed “ransom.”
Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted in response to the Wall Street Journal account, “Obama administration sent plane load of cash to #Iran as ransom as part of deal on hostages. Just unreal.”
Iranian officials had also boasted that the cash payment was ransom.
In an Aug. 4 press conference at the Pentagon, Obama had claimed that “we announced these payments in January, many months ago. It wasn’t a secret. This wasn’t some nefarious deal.”
Obama, however, made no mention of the $400 million payment that came about at an international tribunal in The Hague when he announced the prisoner release.
“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” was all Obama said on Jan. 17.
Iran released the American hostages after the Obama administration agreed to grant clemency to seven Iranians held mostly for sanctions violations and drop charges against 14 Iranians overseas.
Obama insisted the United States does not pay ransom for hostages and that the money was not linked to the prisoners’ release.
“The reason that we had to give cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed Iran used the money to “prop up its currency” and rebuild its infrastructure, but also admitted “we know that Iran supports Hizbullah and the Assad regime, and it certainly is possible that some of the money that Iran has is being used for those purposes, too.”