President Obama, already under fire for giving away the farm in his nuclear agreement with Iran, is now being questioned about a $1.7 billion payment funneled to Iran in January – a payment that just happened to coincide with the release of five Americans being held in Iranian prisons. House Republican Ed Royce sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry this week, demanding that the administration answer questions regarding the payment as well as their intentions moving forward.
“It is unclear how this $1.7 billion is in the national security interests of the United States,” Royce said in the letter. He questioned whether the money might not have been used more wisely to “compensate American victims of Iranian terrorism who have been awarded judgments against Iran.”
Royce also balked at the administration’s characterization of the payment as “interest” on frozen funds from 1979. Royce asked Kerry to explain how the State Department arrived at that figure.
More broadly, however, Royce and other Republicans are concerned about what the administration has planned for Iran in the immediate future.
“I have a larger concern that in choosing to resolve this relatively minor bilateral dispute at this time, the Obama administration is aggressively moving toward reestablishing diplomatic relations with Iran,” he wrote. “Such action would clearly violate the president’s pledge to ‘remain vigilant’ in countering the threat Iran poses to the United States and our allies in the region.”
Obama? Violate a pledge to put America’s national security first? That doesn’t sound like him…
Whether the $1.7 billion has an innocent explanation or not, the larger point is that we are funneling money back to a country that is then going to turn around and give that money to Islamic terrorists in Palestinian territory. We are supposed to be a friend of Israel, yet we have emboldened their greatest enemies with every decision we’ve made over the last four years. What President Obama calls a step towards peace, Iranian officials call a step towards the realization of their Middle Eastern dominance.
By John Kerry’s own admission, Tehran will “probably” use some of the money unfrozen by the lifted sanctions to fund terrorism. Yet, we feel compelled to pay back a loan with $1.3 billion interest to reward them for what amounts to state-sponsored terrorism in the first place? What else would you call holding hostages for ransom?
The path to peace is a noble one, but Obama has taken a dreadful shortcut.