If you believe the State Department that the four hundred million dollars in cash paid to the Iranian mullahs on the very day Iran released our servicemen was not a ransom, that we “never pay ransoms,” well, I still have that bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan to sell you I’ve been trying to get rid of for sixty years.
(Unfortunately, if you believe anything from our State Department these days, I might have to offer you that same bridge.)
For those who live in the real world, however, the interesting question is not whether the four hundred mill was a ransom — that couldn’t be more obvious since the mullahs had Obama, yet again, over a barrel. What could be worse for him and his party in an election year than another Iranian hostage crisis? Everyone knows what happened after the last one. Goodbye, Democrat Carter. Hello, Republican Reagan.
Beyond that, it would raise the issue of Obama’s absurd semi-existent Iran deal again. People might notice the Iranians never even signed it. How would that look for a second term president desperately worried about his legacy?
So, as we say in Hollywood, “Pasadena!” On to the next. The interesting question isn’t what but why? Why did the Iranians demand their payment in cold hard cash (evidently tendered in euros and Swiss francs, not dollars)?
Don’t the Iranians trust us? After all, they know we’re good for it, even if we have a national debt of 19 trillion. Of course, we do have a history of withholding payments from Iran, not that they don’t deserve it. Or maybe they just wanted to stick it to Obama-Kerry at the last moment, show who’s boss.
Well, they did that, but I suspect there is another reason – the great flexibility and usefulness of cash, something that can be distributed hand-to-hand without having to go through the banks and their nosey wire-transfer tracking. Like the Mafia, the mullahs are not keen on transparency. They like to keep to themselves how they use their money.
But as a public service, I offer a possible template for their use of Obama’s (and U.S. taxpayers’) $400 million. Revise as you wish:
$40 million off the top – Ayatollah Khamenei (Godfather always gets his cut)
$30 million – other mullahs as per rank
$85 million – Revolutionary Guard to be distributed to officials and used for “projects” across globe
$5 million – Basij, to keep the peasants happy and the city folks scared
$75 million – Hezbollah — to be directed by the Revolutionary Guard and only for use against Israel, Kurds and whatever are left of U.S. Syrian allies
$5 million – personal to Hassan Nasrallah — the Hezbollah leader has been having a tough time of late, got to keep him in line
$25 million – Hamas, to keep them in line, also finance tunnels and rockets into Israel
$15 million – al Qaeda... shush, you’re not supposed to think they aid al Qaeda because they’re Sunni but they do
$10 million – ISIS… how is it possible some of it will not end up in their hands despite the Sunni-Shiite rift?
Okay, by my count, that makes $300 million. $100 million left…. What to do? What to do?…. Oh, yes, that fella in Pakistan — the one with the nuclear material. That’s what we need, some of that, under the table. A down payment as well on some new technology from Germany or Sweden. Some of their companies must be willing to cooperate despite the sanctions no one believes in anyway — especially for cash. That would eat the 100 quickly.
There you have it. A working user model for the cash transfer from the USA to the country Obama himself admitted was still the leading state sponsor of terrorism. What does that make us? The sponsor’s sponsor?
Okay, you get the dismal picture.
Is this a campaign issue for Donald Trump? You bet it is. Donald, keeping his eye on the ball this time, was already talking about it on the hustings this morning. He’d be a fool to stop. And this evening Stephen Miller, his senior policy adviser, sent around the following to the press:
This administration has embarassed our country as no administration has before, going so far as to fund Islamic terror through cash payments to Iran. Nothing less than a full investigation is required, and if email-destroying Hillary Clinton can’t break from Obama on this then she is even more corrupt than anyone imagined.
Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His book—I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already—is just published by Encounter. You can read an excerpt here. You can see a brief interview about the book with the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal here. You can hear an interview about the book with Mark Levin here. You can order the book here.