Ayotte calls out Obama for ransom payment to Tehran
By Kelly Thomas | August 3, 2016, 15:00 EDT
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte is not mincing words when it comes to the Obama administration’s covert transfer of $400 million to Tehran.
In a statement released today, Ayotte called the administration’s payment to Iran a “ransom” for the release of five Americans imprisoned by the Iranian government.
The New Hampshire Republican slammed the Obama administration for purposely hiding the details from Congress and deliberately using bulk foreign currency cash transfers to evade the effects of US financial sanctions, saying the covert payment “demonstrates the dangerous lengths this administration has been willing to go to in order to placate the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.”
The administration denies that the payment was part of any quid pro quo, and says the fact that the payment was made on January 17th, the same day as the Americans were freed is a mere coincidence. The administration claims the payment was the first installment of a settlement of a 37-year-old legal claim worth $400 million plus an additional $1.3 billion in accrued interest.
The cash, none of which was conveyed in U.S. dollars, was airlifted to Tehran as unmarked cargo on wooden pallets without Congress’ knowledge or approval. The revelation of the payment has motivated some legislators to begin drafting legislation that will ensure that there are no more payments of this nature in the future.
Ayotte, who is in one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races this November, has frequently voiced her disapproval of the administration’s Iran policy, which she claims has only emboldened the terrorist nation. Ayotte said that it is “no surprise that Tehran is now interested in unjustly arresting additional Americans in order to get more cash to support its goals-including funding the terrorist organization Hezbollah, the murderous Assad regime, and their own dangerous ballistic missile program.”
Iran is still holding American citizens as prisoners, and their friends and family believe Iran is keeping them in an effort to get another cash payment, the Wall Street Journal reported.