National Security

Ransom or Not, Obama Still Funds Iranian Terror

And yet he complains that he's treated like the subject of a crime novel.

Arnold Ahlert · Aug. 8, 2016
Presidential redefinition

The Obama administration is funding Iranian-fueled Islamic terrorism.

Forget all the double-talk and the dissembling by perhaps the most arrogant individual to ever occupy the Oval Office. Despite Barack Obama’s insistence that the latest revelations about the $1.7 billion accord reached with the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism amount to the “manufacturing of outrage,” the stench of a heinous quid pro quo, at best — and the outright payment of a ransom for hostages at worst — cannot be avoided.

The agreement, which closed the books on a failed weapons deal reached just prior to the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi during the 1979 Iranian revolution, was originally announced in January, and even then it was criticized as a ransom payment in exchange for five Americans held by Iran. Obama also asserted it was not part of the nuclear accord. “With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” he said at the White House on Jan. 17 — without mentioning the deal included $400 million in cash denominated in euros, Swiss francs and other currencies procured from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland.

And not released prisoners. Exchanged prisoners, as in the release, or pre-trial pardon, of seven people of Iranian descent, three of whom had been imprisoned for attempting to provide Iran with advanced technology, along with the dismissal of arrest warrants against 14 others.

And along with the prisoners, the bundles of cash, courtesy of a secret airlift in unmarked cargo plane. Cash White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted was necessary because “we all know there is no banking relationship between the U.S. and Iran,” and only a story now because of “political attacks that are being made by people who are trying to justify their opposition to the deal.”

Obama was equally dismissive. “It is not at all clear to me why cash as opposed to a wire transfer has made this into a new story,” he stated. “Maybe because it feels like some spy novel or some crime novel because cash was exchanged.”

Or maybe, as former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey revealed, sanctions that prevent engaging in dollar transactions with Iran remain in place, making it necessary to use other currencies. And why cash? “There is principally one entity within the Iranian government that has need of untraceable funds,” Mukasey explains. “That entity is the Quds Force — the branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps focused particularly on furthering the regime’s goals world-wide by supporting and conducting terrorism.”

It gets worse. America has a money laundering statute, but it only applies to transfers to or from U.S. territory. Mukasey notes, “This transfer occurred entirely abroad.”

Nonetheless, the resolution of a 37-year-old dispute with a nation that has maintained a war footing against American interests throughout that entire period, and the simultaneous implementation of a nuclear accord, is being framed as strictly coincidental. “As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim … were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” State Department spokesman John Kirby insisted. This despite U.S. officials admitting the Iranian prisoner negotiators wanted cash to show they had gotten something “tangible” for their efforts.

And make no mistake: Even officials in the Obama administration’s corrupt Justice Department objected to the cash transfer, but they were overruled by an equally corrupt State Department. “People knew what it was going to look like,” stated one of the objectors, “and there was concern the Iranians probably did consider it a ransom payment.”

That’s because they did. “This money was returned for the freedom of the U.S. spy and it was not related to the [nuclear] negotiations,” declared Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Brigadier General of Iran’s volunteer Basij Force. That assessment was echoed by released hostage Saeed Abedini, who stated he was told by police “we are waiting for another plane and until that plane doesn’t come, we never let you go.”

Moreover, a videotape emerged of a documentary broadcast in February on Iranian TV, showing footage of the money and emphasizing the idea that the mullahs viewed the transaction as “a win-lose deal that benefits the Islamic Republic of Iran and hurts the United States,” according to English translations.

The State Department could have confirmed or denied Abedini’s allegation. Instead they chose to stonewall, with State Department deputy spokesperson Mark C. Toner telling AP diplomatic reporter Mike Lee he hasn’t “gotten clarity” on whether the plane loaded with cash landed before or after the hostage plane took off, but the agency is “still looking into it.”

Those familiar with the Obama administration’s modus operandi should expect State to be “looking into it” long after the media’s increasing disinterest diminishes to zero.

In the meantime, the administration propaganda campaign continues with the assertion the deal is a bargain. That’s because the $1.7 billion is comprised of $400 million in principle, and $1.3 billion in 36 years of accumulated interest, and administration officials claim the interest rate would have been steeper if the dispute had been adjudicated by a Hague tribunal created to settle post-1979 claims between the U.S. and Iran. Then there’s CIA Director John Brennan who insisted Iran is using the cash “to support its currency” and “build up its infrastructure.”

Not exactly. As Saeed Ghasseminejad, a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies discovered, Iran’s Guardian Council increased the nation’s 2016-2017 military budget by a whopping 90% over the previous year, with funding that included “$1.7 billion from a financial settlement reached in January,” he wrote last June.

Even if one were to completely dismiss this discovery, the notion that funding — especially cash — isn’t completely fungible is utterly absurd.

So is the notion Iran will “moderate” its behavior. Since the transaction, Iran has taken into custody three more Iranian-Americans, and four dual-nationality visitors from Canada, Britain and France. The whereabouts of former FBI agent Robert Levinson also remain a mystery. Iran has test-fired two long-range missiles with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” painted on the sides. And despite impotent protests from the Pentagon, the Russians began delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Tehran.

Moreover, the administration’s reflexive stonewalling, and Leftmedia efforts to bury it, continue. “White House officials have declined to say whether the rest of the $1.7 billion payment … was also made in cash,” The New York Times reported Friday — buried in the 13th paragraph of its article.

That’s an astounding revelation, but Times will undoubtedly be joined by the rest of the calculatingly disinterested Leftmedia, eager to reduce this story to one of semantical distinctions, or “old news,” as Hillary Clinton called it.

So what’s not old news? “In sum, the Obama administration has provided Iran with $400 million under circumstances in which it well knows that at least some of this cash will be used for terrorism,” writes former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. Thus columnist Mark Steyn’s searing assessment of Obama remains germane: “If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?”

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