About every third email, post, tweet and call today was from someone with a thimbleful of facts and a Canyon Lake of attitude.
Let me paraphrase them: “Don’t you realize the $400M was Iran’s money, we were just giving it back, and so it wasn’t ransom. Idiot!”
The Twitter nitwittery was strong today.
Not that facts should ever get in the way of feelings, this being 2016 and all, but here are a few facts:
In the beginning of the US-Iran talks, a formula was established of exchanging people for people, meaning Iranian nationals held by America for Americans held by Iran. Then, the Iranians began insisting that there be money, too. That’s ransom, no matter where you get the money from.
The $400M, and the $1.7B total, being frozen by the US wasn’t an arbitrary thing. Some of it represents funds Iran believes it is owed. Some of it is interest they also feel entitled to. But, there are victims’ damage claims totaling more than that, from the US family members and survivors of Iran-sponsored terror attacks, going back decades. If you’re crowing about how that money “belongs” to the terrorist regime in Teheran, you’re siding against your fellow Americans who’ve lost loved ones or limbs to Iranian-backed attacks.
You’re also siding against US law and the Supreme Court of the United States. But, by all means, stick up for the ayatollahs, if that’s your thing.
So, to recap so far, the definition of ransom is “a sum or payment demanded or paid for the release of a hostage or prisoner”. Payment was demanded, and paid, for the release. It coincided with the release of four Americans, but it was not coincidental, and, yes, the Iranians gleefully propagandized about it as ransom at the time. The word they used: ransom.
Not to get philosophical, but if the kidnapper thinks you paid ransom, you probably did.
Contrary to law, the administration hid the details of the payout from Congress. Not surprising, since many members in both parties have worried aloud about Iran’s windfall going to fund Assad, Hezbollah and Quds forces in Iraq and elsewhere.
Despite once being the leader in imposing sanctions on Iran, the US is now leading on dodging those sanctions. Case in point: Reputable banks avoid any dealings with the Islamic Republic because of terrorism and money laundering concerns. Instead of lauding those banks, we went around them and sought out countries whose banking systems would quietly route hard cash to Iran. Hence the euros and other currencies.
Why be sneaky if what you’re doing is “smart diplomacy”, as a State Department press flack called it?
Back to those victim damage claims from Iran-sponsored terror attacks. In recent weeks, Iran has stepped up demands for more of those frozen assets. Why now, after such a long time frozen, are they so eager to hit the ATM?
One theory is that President Obama’s administration is seen as the last, best chance to get monies our own Supreme Court has said should be awarded American victims, not the tyrants of Teheran.
The UN has directly accused Iran of subsidizing the Assad regime’s war in Syria through cash and materiel shipments.
Unfreezing their assets now, draining off money American terror victims have waited years for, propping up an oppressive, theocratic dictatorship and bankrolling the bloodbath of Syria’s Assad—if you still want to talk about it being “their money”, I’d simply ask why do you care so much about that, in all of this?