Biden Admin Signs Off on Hostages for Cash Iran Deal for South Korea
The first of many releases. No doubt.
If you'll recall, Biden was asked specifically about sanctions relief for Iran before the fake deal was re-finalized.
"Will the U.S. lift sanctions first in order to get Iran back to the negotiating table?" host Norah O'Donnell asked.
"No," Biden said.
Did anyone really believe that? Obviously not.
The United States is weighing a wide array of ideas on how to revive the Iranian nuclear deal, including an option where both sides would take small steps short of full compliance to buy time, said three sources familiar with the matter.
This option could entail Washington allowing Tehran to get economic benefits less valuable than the sanctions relief it received under the 2015 deal in return for Iran stopping, or perhaps reversing, its own breaches of the agreement.
Here's a new angle for playing that game coming out of South Korea.
The Iranian assets locked in South Korea will be released after consultations with the United States, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, after Iran claimed it has reached a deal with Seoul on how to transfer and use the frozen money.
Tehran has been pressuring Seoul to unblock about US$7 billion of its assets frozen in two South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions. Seoul has been in talks with Washington on ways to release the money without violating the sanctions, including expanding humanitarian trade with the Middle Eastern country.
Despite the denial from Seoul and Tehran, speculation has mounted that Iran's discontent over the frozen funds is related to its recent seizure of a South Korean oil tanker and its crew members in the Persian Gulf early last month.
Early this month, Tehran said it would release the sailors, except for the captain, which coincided with Seoul's confirmation on the progress in the talks with Washington about using the frozen money for the U.N. dues. (Yonhap)
So it's the usual hostage ransom with a twist. The twist isn't really a new one. But it depends on moving the cash through a foreign country. That's already an old Obama gimmick getting further use under Biden. But considering the dominant notes on foreign policy in the Biden administration come from Obama's people, that's not surprising.