August 03, 2016 · via FoxNews.comRepublican lawmakers are fuming over a bombshell report overnight that the U.S. government airlifted the equivalent of $400 million to Iran this past January – as four detained Americans were released by Tehran – and say the transaction has put more Americans at risk of being taken hostage.
The cash transfer, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, was the first installment paid in a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a failed 1979 arms deal dating from just before the Iranian Revolution.
The cash flown to Iran consisted of euros, Swiss francs, and other currencies because U.S. law forbids transacting American dollars with Iran. While the Obama administration denied the cash transfer was done to secure the release of the four Americans, GOP lawmakers said it was tantamount to “ransom.”
“Paying ransom to kidnappers puts Americans even more at risk,” Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said in a statement. “While Americans were relieved by Iran’s overdue release of illegally imprisoned American hostages, the White House’s policy of appeasement has led Iran to illegally seize more American hostages.”
The four released Americans are Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian; Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine; Christian pastor Saeed Abedini; and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, whose case had not been publicized before the release.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said their release was on an entirely separate track from the settlement payment and, in an interview Wednesday with Fox News, said any suggestion it was tied to ransom is “utterly false.”
“We just don’t pay ransom. … This was not ransom,” he said.
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