The Obama administration secretly sent a plane with $400 million in cash to Iran. While the exact reason for the money isn’t clear, multiple American prisoners were coincidentally released immediately after the plane landed. The money may have also been part of a much larger settlement exceeding $1.5 billion to get Iran on board the landmark nuclear agreement.
According to reports, the Obama administration may have negotiated a cash-for-prisoner exchange deal with Iran. While the administration didn’t explicitly admit to forking over a ransom, it did secretly arrange a plane delivery of $400 million in cash. It might not strictly be a coincidence that on the same day the plane reached, four American prisoners held in captivity by the Iranian government were released expeditiously. If that’s not all, the pro-Islamic country formally implemented the nuclear deal, reported CNN.
Congressional Republicans are alleging that President Barack Obama engaged in a cash-for-hostages deal with Iran after officials confirmed President Obama approved the $400 million transfer, which the latter announced in January, was part of the crucial nuclear deal.
In accordance with the executive order, the money was flown in a secret government plane to Iran. The monetary transaction was entirely in cash, which was stacked on wooden pallets. However, the money wasn’t entirely in U.S. dollars. The cash comprised of Swiss francs, euros, and other currencies. This is because the current government procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Officially, the monetary exchange was part of a much larger settlement amounting to $1.7 billion. The money was supposed to persuade Iran to execute the landmark nuclear deal. The money was claimed to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Incidentally, the $400 million cash exchange perfectly coincided with the formal implementation of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran, the U.S., and other global powers the summer before, as well as the releasing of four American citizens. A fifth American man was released by Iran separately.
While withholding the fact that a secret unmarked cargo plane had been flown to Iran with pallets stacked with bales of cold hard cash, President Obama said, “With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.”
The official statement about the payment was made in January. In the statement, it was stressed that the cash exchange was done to secure the nuclear deal, which involved easing of decades-long trade sanctions in exchange for Iran’s agreement to substantially scale down its seemingly aggressive nuclear program, including the production of weapons-grade nuclear material, and open the sites for international inspection, reported USA Today.
Why was a cash-laden plane flown to Iran? The Obama administration clarified that Iran couldn’t access the global financial system due to international sanctions that were prevalent at the time. This ruled out electronic money transfer.
Officially, the $400 million appear to be reparations to Iran for a deal of the exact amount that went south about 37 years ago. Before the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran had deposited $400 million for military equipment, but the delivery never arrived.
Is the Obama administration enabling terrorism? Republicans strongly allege, with the nuclear deal, Barack Obama has allowed terrorism to flourish with a vengeance, as Iran is accused of being a major sponsor for such nefarious activities. By allowing Tehran to reenter the international economy, Iran will regain access to long-frozen funds.
Additionally, the cash delivery amounts to a ransom payment that violates the long-standing U.S. policy that the country doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, nor does it pay for the release of hostages. The money may now encourage other nations to hold Americans in detention and seek compensation for their release, claimed Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk.
[Photo by Saul Loeb/Getty Images]