Iran ‘Ransom’ Deal: $400M Prisoner Swap Draws Criticism From GOP, Media

The Iran “ransom” deal that the Inquisitr reported on yesterday had raised ire within the Republican Party and in a growing faction of the media, with the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin recently offering an exposé at how the deal is being viewed domestically and abroad.

President Obama held a press conference on Aug. 4 to assure Americans that the “no negotiating with terrorists” policy is still in check and that the cash payment to Iran had nothing to do with the four prisoners the country decided to release on the same day.

Not surprisingly, Republicans are crying foul.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called the payment a “ransom” outright upon hearing that the Obama-appointed Justice Department objected to the deal and were furious when the State Department and President Obama didn’t take their advice.

“With the news that the Department of Justice raised alarms about a $400 million cash ransom, the only way this gets worse is if Air Force One made the drop-off,” Sasse said. “It’s not hard to figure out why the DOJ sounded the alarm because President Obama said it himself: paying ransoms puts American lives at risk and bankrolls terrorism.”

The logic behind this argument is that once a terrorist-sponsoring country like Iran sees a ransom payment fulfilled, it will continue to capture more Americans for future deals.


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As Rubin notes in her op-ed linked above, Elliott Abrams, who served in both the National Security Council and the State Department, said the problem between the reported objection of the Justice Department at the hands of the State Department is that “they are two co-equal Cabinet departments.”

“Obviously, the professional staff at DOJ, of whom I’d bet 100 percent voted for Obama, were so angry that people began to leak,” Abrams said, adding, “this leak shows how rotten the Obama decision to bribe Iran and ransom hostages truly was.”

“We can only hope that Clinton sees all of this, sees how rotten it looks and decides not to repeat it,” he added.

Republicans such as Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), however, have charged that Hillary Clinton will be nothing more than a continuation of the Obama administration’s policies. He also noted in a Breitbart report that regardless of whether President Obama thinks the “Iran ransom payment” is really a payment to settle a deal that went south in the 1970s — as Obama said at Thursday’s presser — it isn’t how he views it, but how the Ayatollahs view it.

“And they think it’s a ransom payment,” Cotton said, remarking that since the U.S. began providing funds to Iran, “more hostages have been taken.”

The biggest criticism that President Obama has received from both sides of the political aisle is the timing. While Republicans insist the Iran “ransom” payment was more nefarious, Democrats have conceded that delivering the money on the same day of the prisoner release was less than ideal.

But what do you think, readers?

Did President Obama and the State Department intend for this money to be used as payment for the release of prisoners, and do you think that Republicans, the media, and Democrats are right to call into question the timing? And if, as Cotton says, the Ayatollahs think it’s a ransom payment, do you think safety of Americans abroad has been compromised? Sound off in the comments section.

[Image via Jack | Flickr Creative Commons | Resized and Cropped | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]