Obama ‘Airlifted’ $400-M to Iran to Release Americans
The Obama White House airlifted $400-M worth of foreign cash to Iran just as Iran released four Americans it had been holding in prison, the WS-J reports Tuesday.
The cash was flown in secretly on wooden pallets in an unmarked cargo plane, but none of the cash was USDs. Instead, Euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were withdrawn from central banks in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
The WS-J quotes US and European officials as well as congressional staffers who were later briefed on the operation.
American officials denied the payment was a quid pro quo for the release of the 4 Americans, though the plane loaded with cash reportedly landed on 17 January, the same day the Americans were set free.
The money was the 1st installment of a $1.7-B settlement between the Obama Administration and Iran over a failed arms deal signed just prior to the Y 1979 fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Obama administration officials said.
The Iranians reportedly insisted on cash.
“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,” a US State Department spokesman 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.”
But Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK), accused the White House of paying “a $1.7-B ransom to the Ayatollahs for US hostages.
“This break with longstanding US policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of American citizens, Senator Cotton said.
Some Americans are still being held by Iran’, and their friends and family believe Iran is keeping them in an effort to get another cash payment, the WS-J reports.
Congress, meanwhile is attempting to prevent US President Barack Hussein Obama from making any more such payments.
“President Obama’s … payment to Iran in January, which we now know will fund Iran’s military expansion, is an appalling example of executive branch governance,” Senator James Lankford (R-OK) who co-wrote a bill to prevent further payments, said.