For John, BLUF: I think the Obama Administration was between a rock and a hard place. I hope nothing untoward will come of it. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Yesterday Mr Michael Totten commented on the release of four US Citizens by Iran. The story he tells, way beyond the quote below, shows that this is a complicated business. And while he doesn't say it straight up, we, the Taxpayers, paid twice for the $400 million.
Here is the beginning of the article from World Affairs Journal.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that an American plane carrying 400 million dollars in cash landed in Iran at the precise time the Iranian government released four American hostages.The Administration can't say it is ransom, since the Federal Government paying ransom would be illegal. The other problem is that paying ransom encourages bad actions on the part of others. Not everyone, but some, and that some has included Iran in the past.
Critics claim the 400 million was a ransom payment. The White House and State Department deny it emphatically.
They’re right. The 400 million wasn’t a ransom payment, but it was a ransom payment.
The United States sort of owes Iran money. In 1979, the previous government of Iran’s Shah Reza Pahlavi paid 400 million dollars for weapons. The US never shipped the purchased weapons because Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah’s government and took 52 Americans hostage.
We could have given the money back, but the new Iranian government declared war on us and kidnapped our diplomats, so we didn’t. The Obama administration says we’re just paying Iran back, but the Iranians insist otherwise.
“Taking this much money back was in return for the release of the American spies,” Iranian General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Basij militia, said on Iran’s state-run television.
Only the willfully ignorant would claim the American government never lies about anything. Still, Washington is more honest and reliable than Tehran. And State Department spokesman John Kirby insists this is nonsense.
“The negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim…were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” he said. “Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of The Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years.”
Regards — Cliff