The key to negotiation is a quid pro quo. I get something I want, and you get something you want. The reason the United States isn’t supposed to negotiate with terrorists is that a quid pro quo with intrinsically dishonest and dangerous organizations can incentivize such organizations to continue their bad behavior.
It’s come to light via The Wall Street Journal that the United States may have paid Iran a $400 million ransom for the release of four prisoners last January.
The administration, however, claims that the shipment of the $400 million in an unmarked cargo plane in non-U.S. currency on the same day the hostages were released was merely a coincidence. Right.
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According to WSJ:
“The Iranians were demanding the return of $400 million the Shah’s regime deposited into a Pentagon trust fund in 1979 to purchase U.S. fighter jets, U.S. officials said. They also wanted billions of dollars as interest accrued since then.
President Obama approved the shipment of the $400 million…
Ultimately, the Obama administration transferred the equivalent of $400 million to their central banks. It was then converted into other currencies, stacked onto the wooden pallets and sent to Iran on board a cargo plane.”
This is the best part:
“U.S. and European officials wouldn’t disclose exactly when the plane carrying the $400 million landed in Iran. But a report by an Iranian news site close to the Revolutionary Guard, the Tasnim agency, said the cash arrived in Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on the same day the Americans [hostages] departed.”
Hmm, that’s not suspicious at all–but it gets better.
According to officials, while negotiations for the hostages had been ongoing since 2014, it wasn’t until the Iran nuclear deal was made concrete in July of 2015 that things really sped up:
“The Swiss channel initially saw little activity, according to these officials. But momentum shifted after Tehran and world powers forged a final agreement in July 2015 to constrain Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of most international sanctions. A surge of meetings then took place in the Swiss lakeside city of Geneva in November and December.”
So only after the United States signed the agreement to give Iran $1.7 billion did hostage negotiations pick up. A likely scenario is that Iran saw the deal go through, and thought ‘Wow, Americans are incredibly stupid. We can totally get more out of them.’
The worst part is that Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. We’re helping them kill people. If the money we give them isn’t going directly to Hezbollah or Hamas, it’s replacing funds so they can use more of their own cash to help Hezbollah or Hamas. Ya know, fungibility and all.
Negotiating with Iran is like bailing out the banks every time they fail–we’re giving them a blank check to take hostages any time they want. Oh wait–they’re doing just that.
Several months prior to the hostage release, Iranian officials detained Siamak Namazi. Then in February, they arrested his father, Baquer Namazi. Both men are Iranian-Americans.
“Friends and family of the Namazis believe the Iranians are seeking to increase their leverage to force another prisoner exchange or cash payment in the final six months of the Obama administration.”
And guess what? It just so happens that Iran wants some more cash:
“Iranian officials have demanded in recent weeks the U.S. return $2 billion in Iranian funds that were frozen in New York in 2009.”
Extortion? Huh. That doesn’t sound like something a terror-sponsoring evil empire would do. It’s not like we encouraged it.
By giving in to Iran monetarily, we’ve shown them our neck. Look! Bite us right here! This giant vein! It can only get worse from this point forward.
We gave them everything they wanted in the nuclear deal, then we gave them $400 million. At this point, I can only assume Obama will cave, and give them the $2 billion they’re currently demanding. Then–in a total coincidence–some hostages will suddenly be released, and Iran will take more hostages–and on and on and on.
The Obama administration has started something incredibly dangerous with far-reaching implications. I can only hope the next administration–whomever is leading it–will be smart enough to end it. Iran is a frightening nation, and I can only imagine what they’re capable of if they see us as weak.