Bribery is not unknown in the Middle East. In fact, it’s considered just another cost of doing business.
For the Obama administration, it was the price they paid to keep Iran at the negotiating table so that a deal on their nuclear program could be hammered out.
An Iranian official has confirmed that the U.S. has sent the Iranian central bank more than $10 billion in cash, gold, and other assets since 2013. Since the nuclear agreement, we have been sending Iran $700 million a month. That money includes the $1.7 billion paid in ransom for U.S. sailors being held hostage by the regime.
The latest disclosure by Iran, which comports with previous claims about the Obama administration obfuscating details about its cash transfers to Iran—including a $1.7 billion cash payment included in a ransom to free Americans—sheds further light on the White House’s back room dealings to bolster Iran’s economy and preserve the Iran nuclear agreement.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi confirmed last week a recent report in the Wall Street Journal detailing some $10 billion in cash and assets provided to Iran since 2013, when the administration was engaging in sensitive diplomacy with Tehran aimed at securing the nuclear deal.
Ghasemi disclosed that the $10 billion figure just scratches the surface of the total amount given to Iran by the United States over the past several years.
“I will not speak about the precise amount,” Ghasemi was quoted as saying in Persian language reports independently translated for the Washington Free Beacon.
The $10 billion figure is actually a “stingy” estimate, Ghasemi claimed, adding that a combination of cash, gold, and other assets was sent by Washington to Iran’s Central Bank and subsequently “spent.”
“This report is true but the value was higher,” Ghassemi was quoted as saying.
“After the Geneva conference and the resulting agreement, it was decided that $700 million dollars were to be dispensed per month” by the U.S., according to Ghassemi. “In addition to the cash funds which we received, we [also] received our deliveries in gold, bullion, and other things.”
Regional experts who spoke to the Free Beacon about these disclosures said that the $10 billion figure offered by the Obama administration should be viewed “as a conservative estimate for what Iran was paid to stay at the table and negotiate.”
“Iran does have incentives to overstate this figure,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon. “But given the recent state-sponsored narrative in Iran about a Western and particularly American failing to offer sanctions relief, this reads much more as fact rather than another instance of disinformation from Tehran.”
It is likely Iran spent a portion of this money to fund its regional terror operations and military enterprise to bolster embattled Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Ben Taleblu said.
It is the nature of diplomacy that some secrecy is necessary when delicate negotiations are underway. But these payments had nothing to do with negotiations. They were a bribe to keep the Iranians negotiating. The $700 million a month after the deal was signed was insurance to keep Iran from walking away from the deal.
The Obama administration might be able to claim that the $1.7 billion we paid to get our hostages back was money owed to Iran from a 1970s arms deal that was never consummated. But the rest of that $10 billion plus is pure gravy for Iran. The fact that they used at least some of it to prop up Bashar Assad, one of the nastiest dictators in the world — a man who used chemical weapons on his own people — makes Washington complicit in the slaughter.
If propping up Assad was in the interest of the U.S., giving Iran that money may have been excused. But the Islamist genie is already out of the bottle in Syria and Assad has no chance to put the stopper back in. Only a united Syria with all factions represented in the government can reclaim Syrian territory from ISIS.
This was not only deceitful policy from Obama but incompetent as well. It’s like giving an evil child a book of matches and then letting him play in a room full of gasoline.
Yes, but at least Obama always has his “legacy.”