Shortly after 4:00 a.m. on Inauguration Day, January 20, 1981, the administration of then-president Jimmy Carter relinquished $7.977 billion to the Iranians. According to one source, the transfer required 14 banks and the participation of five nations acting concurrently.
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran on February 1, 1979, it was with the unbridled determination to launch a revolution. His real coup d’état in the days following the overthrow of the shah turned out to be the incarceration of 52 American hostages for the final 444 days of the Carter administration.
The Iranians were relentless in the pursuit of the Shah’s assets, numbering in the billions, purported to be stashed in American banks. In a move seemingly designed to further insult the United States, Khomeini’s negotiators demanded a total of $24b. dollars be transferred to a bank in Algeria. On the heels of this ridiculous stipulation, the Iranians distributed a synopsis of their demands.
The US retaliated by printing a summation of its own correspondence with the rogue nation. The deadlock between the two countries seemed insurmountable until January 15, 1981. After the election of Ronald Reagan in November 1980, Carter became more determined than ever to secure the release of the hostages on his watch. He was successful, but barely. Just days before Carter was to leave office, Iran capitulated and agreed to Carter’s demands to pay off loans owed to US banks. In marathon sessions new drafts were produced, new documents drawn, and the Bank of England was approved as the repository of escrow funds.
As a final insult to president Carter, the Iranians refused to release the hostages until after president-elect Ronald Reagan was sworn in as 40th president of the United States. Headlines around the world screamed, “Tehran Releases US Hostages after 444 Days of Captivity.”
Why is this fact important to us in 2016? Because the same liberal Left which accepted Carter’s substance-starved campaign also bought into Obama’s equally ambiguous rhetoric.
In January of this year, the administration of President Barack Obama ordered a clandestine transfer of $400 million to the same terrorist state. On the morning of January 17, a transport plane was loaded with skids laden with stacks of currency – among them euros and francs. The unidentified aircraft departed for Tehran, where the cargo was offloaded.
According to Obama, this was only the first payment on an agreed $1.7b. settlement his administration contracted with Iran in the settlement of a failed arms deal signed by the shah. According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, “This $400m. is actually money that the Iranians had paid into a US account in 1979 as part of a transaction to procure military equipment. That military equipment, as it relates to the $400m., was not provided to the Iranians in 1979 because the shah of Iran was overthrown.”
The president contended that the timing of the transfer had nothing to do with the hostage release, or with the signing of the benchmark nuclear accords reached the previous summer. This despite the inference from some Iranian officials that the transaction was a payment of ransom. According to Obama’s statement, “With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.”
John Kirby, State Department spokesperson, took the same approach when he reiterated, “As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim… were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home…. Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of The Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years.”
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, an outspoken opponent of the nuclear accord with Iran, said, “This break with longstanding US policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of US citizens. Apparently the sum offered was not enough to halt the seizure of other Americans, Canadians and UK citizens of Iranian descent.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders boasted at the time that the Americans had succumbed to Iranian pressure. General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Republican Guard’s Basij militia crowed, “Taking this much money back was in return for the release of the American spies.”
One has to wonder just how this windfall will be utilized. Iran is one of the world’s largest state sponsors of terrorist organizations – Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shi’ite militants in Bahrain and Iraq, and even some members of al-Qaida. Its famed Republican Guards have been dispatched to Syria in support of Bashar Assad’s civil war.
Of course, CIA director John Brennan assures the American public that the funds are being used to provide relief for the Iranian people. He reiterated, “The money, the revenue that’s flowing into Iran is being used to support its currency, to provide moneys to the departments and agencies, build up its infrastructure.”
Not all US hostages currently held by Iran were released. The whereabouts of FBI agent Robert Levinson are unknown. Now being held in Iran are Siamak Namazi and his elderly father, Baqeru, and another man, thought to be Reza Shahini. There is speculation that these men, and perhaps more, will be the core of another prisoner exchange payment before the end of Obama’s White House stay. This is particularly true in light of a demand for $2b. held since 2009.
Representative James Lankford of Oklahoma co-wrote a bill that would prevent Obama from handing over cash to the Iranian government. He said, “President Obama’s… payment to Iran in January, which we now know will fund Iran’s military expansion, is an appalling example of executive branch governance… Subsidizing Iran’s military is perhaps the worst use of taxpayer dollars ever by an American president.”
Obama’s presidency has been dominated by debate between the Republican and Democratic parties over Middle East policy, as it relates to the entire Middle East and especially the Persian Gulf states. It is there, in Israel, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, that the epicenter of the war on terror may be found, and it is from there that its ripples will continue to spread across the globe.
Like his political role-model Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama is captivating, eloquent, amiable and unruffled. Obama spoke little during his campaign of his political viewpoint. It was said of Carter and Obama that they seem “cut of identical cloth…. Obama quickly corrects statements which show how he truly feels…. It seems that Obama feels himself morally superior to those in politics today, much like Carter did thirty years ago…. Barack Obama has never sought bipartisanship. He embraces leftism completely… Barack Obama was the next Jimmy Carter.”
The United States paid an exceedingly high price for the years Carter practiced being presidential; we have yet to learn just what the presidency of Barack Obama will have cost the American people.
The author is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His book Islamic Infidels is available at www.Timeworthybooks.com.