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January 18, 2016

Iran’s Powerball Jackpot

Obama’s “hard bargain” is a windfall for the mullahs.

Great news, everyone: Barack Obama has saved the world through “smart, patient and disciplined” diplomacy once again. The occasion for his Sunday boast is two-fold: Iran released several American hostages and the U.S. lifted $100-$150 billion in sanctions on Iran.

Former Marine sergeant Amir Hekmati, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari and Matthew Trevithick were all held by Iran but released over the weekend — timed to coincide with sanctions relief — though the whereabouts of former FBI agent Robert Levinson remain unknown. At least Obama promised, “[W]e will never forget about Bob.” But Iran got even more in return. Obama noted Sunday, “In a reciprocal humanitarian gesture, six Iranian-Americans and one Iranian serving sentences or awaiting trial in the United States are being granted clemency.”

As The Wall Street Journal notes, “Iran gets back men who were assisting its military ambitions while we get innocents. This is similar to the lopsided prisoner swaps that Mr. Obama previously made with Cuba for Alan Gross and the Taliban for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.” Nonetheless, the emotionally appealing saga and release of our hostages will trump the consequences of this bad deal in Leftmedia coverage.

Meanwhile, we all know Obama’s grand nuclear deal is really the sum of all lies, but that didn’t stop Obama from bragging more Sunday: “Under the nuclear deal that we, our allies and partners reached with Iran last year, Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb. … Now that Iran’s actions have been verified, it can begin to receive relief from certain nuclear sanctions and gain access to its own money that had been frozen. And perhaps most important of all, we’ve achieved this historic progress through diplomacy, without resorting to another war in the Middle East.” Again as if it’s his way or war.

Notably, Obama announced new sanctions that applied to 11 persons and companies involved in Iran’s missile program — months after two ballistic missile tests that violated UN resolutions. But this too is a smoke screen. Finally, as if it could get worse, the U.S. will pay Iran $1.7 billion (most of which is interest) to settle a 35-year-old disputed bill on military equipment we never delivered — because Iran happened to be holding more than 60 Americans hostage at the time.

So to recap, we get a few captive Americans (which is good), while Iran can detain 10 American sailors and exploit them for propaganda just before receiving nearly $2 billion in exchange for finalizing a deal preserving its nuclear program. Obama sure knows how to drive a hard bargain.

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