Dr. Boozman's Check-up

"Something Tangible"

Aug 05 2016

The Obama Administration has some questions to answer about the $400 million cash payment to Iran on the same day it released four American prisoners and formally implemented the nuclear deal.

How the President justifies this apparent violation of our long-standing policy not to pay ransom to secure the release of hostages is at the top of the list. The Obama Administration contends that this is not a ransom payment, but the Iranians do not view this the same way our President does.

To Iran, this is clearly a quid pro quo. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Iranian defense officials publically called the cash “a ransom payment.” And despite the vehement denials from U.S. officials that same Wall Street Journal report says, “U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.”

That “something tangible” will likely end up in the hands of Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations funded by Iran. It will almost certainly be used to fund Iran’s efforts to support the Assad regime’s desperate attempts to maintain power in Syria prolonging, and likely escalating, an already bloody conflict that has allowed the Islamic State to flourish in the region.

Iran’s “tangible” prize will also be used to develop and acquire ballistic missiles and other weapon systems that it is now free to pursue as a result of the Obama Administration’s poorly negotiated Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The regime in Tehran has been eagerly showing the world how it is quickly rebuilding its weapon arsenal now that it is free of nuclear-related sanctions. This payout will only intensify the regime’s stockpiling of weapons that it previously had been banned from acquiring.

This is why you never give the world’s leading sponsor of terror, and a regime that routinely threatens us and our allies, a ransom payment. Just as the nuclear agreement has emboldened Iran to rebuild its arsenal, this ransom payment will simply embolden the regime to hold more Americans hostage. It has clearly proven to be a profitable scheme for the Iranians.

I’ve had a number of constituents call and write to ask how Congress could allow this to happen. The truth is we were once again cut out by this Administration, which time and time again has gone around Congress to enact its agenda, especially when it comes to the President’s deal with Iran. The Obama Administration carried this out on its own. Now it must be accountable for those actions.