By Lorra B.
On Tuesday the Obama administration admitted to transferring $1.7 billion in cash to Iran earlier this year to settle a long ago 1979 arms deal that went wrong.
An initial $400 million was sent to Tehran Jan. 17. Ironically, that was the same day Iran agreed to release four American prisoners. Congressional officials stated that the remaining $1.3 billion was paid in two more installments, one on Jan. 22 and the other on Feb. 5.
Treasury spokesperson Dawn Selak stated, “The form of those principal and interest payments—made in non-U.S. currency, in cash—was necessitated by the effectiveness of U.S. and international sanctions regimes over the last several years in isolating Iran from the international financial system.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, The Obama administration was initially unwilling to reveal the inner workings of the &1.7 billion settlement and did not let congress know that they had paid the whole settlement in cash.
It was the belief of the White House that the 37-year-old conflict would be lost due to the initial $400 million payment, “made by the last Shah of Iran months before the Islamic Revolution. Such a decision would have made them liable for much more money,” about $10 billion.
Though the administration continues to claim that no negotiations were made with terrorists, they did acknowledge using the cash as leverage until the Americans were released.
How is that different?
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., may have been wondering the same thing when they presented bills to kill future payments such as these.
Rubio stated, “The U.S. government should not be in the business of negotiating with terrorists and paying ransom money in exchange for the release of American hostages.”
The bill presented on Tuesday would stop any payments by the Treasury Department to Iran until the $1.7 billion is repaid to the United States. The bill also insists on Iran paying the American terrorism victims.
Iran still holds three dual U.S.-Iranian citizens hostage.
By Lorra B.