‘Completely False’?

After Repeated Denials To The Contrary, Obama Administration Now Admits ‘$400M Cash Shipment To Iran Tied To U.S. Prisoners' Release’

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): “Reports today confirm what many of us have suspected all along: the $400 million payment to Iran was a ransom payment for four Americans unlawfully held by the ayatollahs. … Unfortunately, it's not just the American people who received confirmation: it's also terrorist groups and our adversaries around the world who know the United States will pay cold, hard cash for hostages. Again and again this administration gets caught dodging and weaving to avoid the truth.” (Sen. Cotton, Press Release, 8/18/16)

‘State Department Confirmed Thursday That A $400 Million Dollar Cash Shipment To Iran In January Was Tied To The Release Of Four American Citizens’

“The State Department confirmed Thursday that a $400 million dollar cash shipment to Iran in January was tied to the release of four American citizens who’d been detained in the country. Spokesman John Kirby said … the U.S. withheld delivery of the cash as leverage until the U.S. citizens had left Iran, according to the Associated Press. Both events happened on Jan. 17.” (“State Dept.: $400M Cash Shipment To Iran Tied To U.S. Prisoners' Release,” USA Today, 8/18/16)

“The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward. Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. … U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.” (“U.S. Sent Cash To Iran As Americans Were Freed,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/3/16)

  • “The Obama Administration’s handling of the Iran ransom-for-hostages story brings to mind the classic Chico Marx line in the movie ‘Duck Soup’: ‘Who are you going to believe—me or your own eyes?’ After everyone in the Administration from President Obama on down denied that a $400 million cash payment to Iran had anything to do with the same-day release of four American hostages, the State Department on Thursday said your own eyes had it right the first time. While still not using the R-word, State Department spokesman John Kirby said of the two events: ‘We of course wanted to seek maximum leverage in this case as these two things came together at the same time.’” (Editorial, “A Spokesman Calls It ‘Leverage’ For Prisoners, Aka Ransom For Hostages,” Wall Street Journal, 8/19/16)

‘Senior Justice Department Officials Objected To Sending A Plane Loaded With Cash To Tehran’

“Senior Justice Department officials objected to sending a plane loaded with cash to Tehran at the same time that Iran released four imprisoned Americans, but their objections were overruled by the State Department, according to people familiar with the discussions. . . The timing and manner of the payment raised alarms at the Justice Department, according to those familiar with the discussions. ‘People knew what it was going to look like, and there was concern the Iranians probably did consider it a ransom payment,’ said one of the people.” (“Justice Department Officials Raised Objections On U.S. Cash Payment To Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/3/16)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: ‘We Do Not Pay Ransom For Hostages’

PRESIDENT OBAMA: ‘We do not pay ransom for hostages’ Q: “What is your response to critics who say the $400 million in cash that you sent to Iran was a ransom payment? Was it really, simply a pure coincidence that a sum that was -- a payment that was held up for almost four decades was suddenly sent at the exact same time that the American prisoners were released? … PRESIDENT OBAMA: “…we do not pay ransom for hostages.  We've got a number of Americans being held all around the world.  And I meet with their families, and it is heartbreaking.  And we have stood up an entire section of interagency experts who devote all their time to working with these families to get these Americans out. But those families know that we have a policy that we don't pay ransom.  And the notion that we would somehow start now in this high-profile way and announce it to the world -- even as we're looking into the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage and say to them that we don't pay ransom -- defies logic. … We do not pay ransom.  We didn't here.  And we don't -- we won’t in the future -- precisely because if we did, then we would start encouraging Americans to be targeted…” (President Obama, Press Conference, 8/4/16)

SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY: ‘The United States of America does not pay ransom and does not negotiate ransoms’ Q: “The U.S. Government has said repeatedly that the $400 million payment and the $1.3 billion in interest paid to Iran in January was not a ransom payment of any sort. The money was delivered at the same time, though, as the nuclear deal was finalized, and U.S. prisoners were released from custody there. It’s hard to not see this as a package. Do you think the U.S. prisoners would have been released in absence of that payment?” … SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY: “First of all, the United States of America does not pay ransom and does not negotiate ransoms with any country. We never have and we’re not doing that now. It is not our policy.” (Sec. Kerry, Press Conference, 8/4/16)


Related Issues: Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran, National Security