Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
The Islamic Republic of Iran was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984. That move came several years after Iran had seized American hostages while demanding $24 billion in cash and gold to be paid into a Muslim bank for their release.
The total, according to Secretary of State Muskie, came out to $480 million per hostage.
Carter eventually reached a deal to release billions to Iran while Muskie claimed that the ransom payment meant that “the United States emerged stronger and Iran emerged weaker.” Such counterintuitive arguments have become a staple of Obama rhetoric which insists that appeasing terrorists somehow weakens them and strengthens us.
Muskie also said the deal would “not to make any arrangement to encourage terrorism in the future”.
That of course was not true. Paying out ransom to terrorists only encourages more terrorism. While the hostages were freed, the terror tactic never went away.
In 1989, Iran was still trying to blackmail President George H.W. Bush by offering to free yet more American hostages in exchange for around $12 billion in assets. The hostages had been seized by terrorist affiliates of Iran which by now had been on the state sponsor of terror list for nearly half a decade.
Carter’s ransom deal blatantly violated the law. His Treasury Department ordered banks to defy the courts which were addressing claims of damages by American companies. While he and his administration insisted that they were not paying ransom because it was Iran’s money (a familiar claim that has been repeated by Obama with his own ransom payment), that’s exactly what they were doing.
It’s how Iran saw it. It’s why Iran kept taking hostages and demanding ransoms.
The dirty deal with Iran was presided over by Warren Christopher who would go on to serve as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State. The Algiers Accords, like Obama’s nuke deal with Iran, deliberately bypassed the Senate to cut a deal with Islamic terrorists. The dangerous precedent with Iran was set.
Democrats demanded Reagan’s impeachment over Iran-Contra. They are curiously uninterested in impeaching Obama for putting $400 million in foreign currency on pallets and flying it to Iran in an unmarked cargo plane. Even though the case is clear and unambiguous.
Obama has clearly admitted that he knew about the planeload of cash. He has lied about its legality and his motives, but he has made no secret of knowing about it.
He chose to use foreign currency from foreign banks in an attempt to knowingly evade restrictions on sending money to Iran. As former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy however has pointed out, the law criminalizes efforts to evade sanctions, stating “any transaction … that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding” is prohibited. Furthermore “any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this part is prohibited.”
Obama and his administration represent a criminal conspiracy to violate the laws of this country.
Even if these regulations were not in place, funding Iran directly funds terrorism. And that’s a crime.
The latest State Department report found that Iran, “continued its terrorist-related activity in 2015, including support for Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.” It found that, “Iran increased its assistance to Iraqi Shia terrorist groups, including Kata’ib Hizballah (KH), which is a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
It even noted that, “Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain and refused to publicly identify the members in its custody. Iran previously allowed AQ facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran since at least 2009, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.”
By aiding Iran, Obama is aiding a whole range of Islamic terrorist groups from Hezbollah to Al Qaeda.
Furthermore paying ransom to Islamic terrorists incentivizes more hostage taking. American parents who wanted to pay ransoms to ISIS risked prosecution. Obama laid out the rationale for that.
The question is why does he want to deny money to ISIS while funding Iran?
Obama’s excuses are the very same arguments made by Carter’s people. History has repeatedly disproven them.
Denying that the money being received by Iran was a ransom is denying the obvious. Furthermore it does not matter in the least what Obama, CNN or the State Department believe the money is really for.
What matters is what Iran believes it is. And Iran has made it clear repeatedly that it believes that the money is a ransom payment. That means that Iran will take more hostages to extract more money.
Whatever word games Obama plays don’t matter because it’s Iran worldview that is the issue.
If Carter could at least claim not to know the consequences of his appeasement, Obama is repeating bad policies that have endangered national security for decades. He is violating both old and new laws. Including laws that did not exist in Carter’s time. And he has lied to the American people while doing so.
When you are reduced to funneling cash from foreign banks to a state sponsor of terrorism in an unmarked cargo airplane, then your presidency has become a corrupt criminal enterprise.
And it’s time for you to be treated that way.
Iran poses a global threat. Its wealth, including the money dispatched by Obama, continues to be poured into sponsoring terrorist attacks, invading other countries, destabilizing the region and developing weapons of mass destruction. Countless American soldiers have died at Iran’s hands and we have been dragged into a war in the region kickstarted by Iran.
Obama has not even bothered pretending to be ignorant of the cash flight to Iran. He has openly admitted his guilt. “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran.”
Like nearly everything he says, that was a partial lie. And yet it was a large enough admission.
Funneling $400 million in cash to Iran is the opposite of strictly maintaining sanctions. It’s the sort of thing that smugglers do when they are violating sanctions.
Iran’s chief smuggler is now a man living in the White House. And that is unacceptable.
There are numerous reasons to impeach Obama. His abuses of power are legion. He has broken the law as casually and as flagrantly as the worst of criminals. And yet there is something about directly flying in cash to terrorists that surpasses them all for both arrogance and criminality.
It’s the sort of thing people go to jail for. It’s the sort of thing that presidents ought to be impeached for.
Obama has done a great deal to aid Islamic terrorists. Yet this time he crossed a line. Every other time he aided terrorists, he managed to maintain the appearance of propriety. There’s no propriety to flying in foreign cash to terrorists in an unmarked cargo plane. There are no excuses. The guilt is obvious.
Impeachment hearings would send a message not only to this administration, but to future administrations that it’s time to end Carter’s policy of trading ransoms for hostages.
Iran’s terror wave has gone unchecked because it hasn’t been forced to pay the price for terror. The cycle of terrorism must be broken and impeachment hearings would make it clear to future presidents that there is a price to pay for funneling billions into Iran’s terrorist maw.
If Obama doesn’t pay the price for funding Islamic terrorism, our future hostages will.