Administration officials have refused to publicly disclose how and when the
cash transfer ransom payment authorized by Mr. Obama took place.
WASHINGTON — Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee report: New details of the $400 million U.S. payment to Iran earlier this year depict a tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.
“‘Our top priority was getting the Americans home,’ said a U.S. official. Once the Americans were ‘wheels up’ on the morning of Jan. 17, Iranian officials in Geneva were allowed to take custody of the $400 million in currency, according to officials briefed on the exchange.”
The picture emerged from accounts of U.S. officials and others briefed on the operation: U.S. officials wouldn’t let Iranians take control of the money until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three freed Americans departed from Tehran on Jan. 17. Once that happened, an Iranian cargo plane was allowed to bring the cash home from a Geneva airport that day.
President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have said the payment didn’t amount to ransom, because the U.S. owed the money to Iran as part of a longstanding dispute linked to a failed arms deal from the 1970s. U.S. officials have said that the prisoner release and cash transfer took place through two separate diplomatic channels.
“The picture emerged from accounts of U.S. officials and others briefed on the operation: U.S. officials wouldn’t let Iranians take control of the money until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three freed Americans departed from Tehran on Jan. 17.”
But the handling of the payment and its connection to the Americans’ release have raised questions among lawmakers and administration critics.
“Once that happened, an Iranian cargo plane was allowed to bring the cash home from a Geneva airport that day.”
The use of an Iranian cargo plane to move pallets filled with $400 million brings clarity to one of the mysteries surrounding the cash delivery to Iran first reported by The Wall Street Journal this month. Administration officials have refused to publicly disclose how and when the cash transfer authorized by Mr. Obama took place. Executives from Iran’s flagship carrier, Iran Air, organized the round-trip flight from Tehran to Geneva where the cash—euros and Swiss francs and other currencies—was loaded onto the aircraft, these people said.
“Our top priority was getting the Americans home,” said a U.S. official. Once the Americans were “wheels up” on the morning of Jan. 17, Iranian officials in Geneva were allowed to take custody of the $400 million in currency, according to officials briefed on the exchange.
“Mr. Obama said on Aug. 4 the payment had to be in cash because the U.S. and Iran have no banking relationship, eliminating the possibility of a check or wire transfer.”
The payment marked the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration announced it had reached with Tehran in January to resolve a decades-old legal dispute traced back to the final days of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. His government paid $400 million into a Pentagon trust fund in 1979 for military parts that were never delivered because of the Islamic revolution that toppled him. Read the rest of this entry »
this threatening video six hours ago—“If Any War Happens”.Ayatollah Khamenei released
Source: The Gateway Pundit
What’s the real definition of socialism? How is it distinct from regulation and a social welfare state? Why are intellectuals still enamored of a system that brought us Stalin, Hitler, and more recently Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il? And what can the United States learn from Sweden about free enterprise and capitalism?
Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Kevin Williamson, who is deputy managing editor of National Review and author of a new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, to discuss the meaning of socialism in history and the current moment.
Obama doesn’t take the Iranian chant seriously. He should.
Mona Charen writes: Maybe I’m too sensitive, but when a foreign autocrat leads his people in chants of “Death to America,” I take it personally.
President Obama and Secretary Kerry apparently don’t. The chant, which became a staple of the Islamic Republic during the 1979 revolution, is not a relic of the past. Just last weekend, at a rally in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was interrupted by the chant as he was denouncing American “lies” and “arrogance.” He smiled and responded, “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.”
Some in Iran have said that during negotiations over a nuclear deal, Iranians should downplay the “Death to America” chant, common after Friday prayers and at political rallies. But the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) rejects this advice, insisting, according to the semi-official Fars news agency, that the United States “is still the great Satan and the number-one enemy of the [Islamic] revolution, and the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation.”
Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark,) responded bluntly: “When someone chants, ‘Yes, certainly, death to America,’ we should take him at his word, and we shouldn’t put him on the path to a nuclear bomb.”
We are left to wonder at the equanimity high-ranking members of this administration show toward the unyielding hostility of the Iranian regime. Read the rest of this entry »
Peggy Noonan: ‘It’s Not Really Hunger That’s Propelling Hillary Now, it’s Newton’s 1st law: Objects in Motion Tend to Stay in Motion’Posted: March 14, 2015
Hillary Seems Tired, Not Hungry
For a while I’ve assumed Hillary Clinton would run for her party’s nomination and be a formidable candidate in the general election. After Tuesday’s news conference I’m not so sure.
Did she seem to you a happy, hungry warrior? She couldn’t make eye contact with her questioners, and when she did she couldn’t sustain it. She looked at the ceiling and down at notes, trying, it seemed, to stick to or remember scripted arguments. She was shaky. She couldn’t fake good cheer and confidence. It is seven years since she ran for office. You could see it.
“This wasn’t the work of a national, high-grade political-response team, it was the thrown-together mess of someone who knew she was guilty of self-serving actions, who didn’t herself believe what she was saying, who didn’t think the press would swallow it, and who didn’t appear to care.”
Her claims—she stayed off the State Department email system for “convenience,” she thought “it would be easier to carry just one device,” her server “contains personal communications from my husband and me”—were so transparent, so quickly disprovable. Minutes later journalists were posting earlier statements in which she said she carries two devices, and The Wall Street Journal’s report saying Bill has sent only two emails in his life.
“She didn’t look hungry for the battle, she looked tired of the battle.”
This wasn’t high-class spin. These were not respectable dodges. They didn’t make you grudgingly tip your hat at a gift for duplicity. I could almost feel an army of oppo people of both parties saying, “You can do better than that, Hillary!”
This wasn’t the work of a national, high-grade political-response team, it was the thrown-together mess of someone who knew she was guilty of self-serving actions, who didn’t herself believe what she was saying, who didn’t think the press would swallow it, and who didn’t appear to care.
She didn’t look hungry for the battle, she looked tired of the battle.
“Defenses of Mrs. Clinton were ad hoc, improvised, flat-footed. It all looks disorderly, as if no one’s in charge, no one has drawn clear lines of responsibility or authority. We hear about loyalists, intimates, allies, pals, hangers-on, Friends of Hill. People buzz around her like bees on random paths to the queen.”
Everyone knows what the scandal is. She didn’t want a paper trail of her decisions and actions as secretary of state. She didn’t want to be questioned about them, ever. So she didn’t join the government’s paper-trail system, in this case the State Department’s official email system, which retains and archives records. She built her own private system and got to keep complete control of everything she’d done or written. She no doubt assumed no one outside would ask and no one inside would insist—she’s Hillary, don’t mess with her.
“Is this thing really happening? Is the much-vaunted campaign coming together?”
She knew the story might blow but maybe it wouldn’t, worth the chance considering the payoff: secrecy. If what she did became public she’d deal with it then. When this week she was forced to, she stonewalled: “The server will remain private.”
Is it outrageous? Of course. Those are U.S. government documents she concealed and destroyed. The press is not covering for her and hard questions are being asked because everyone knows what the story is. It speaks of who she is and how she will govern. Everyone knows it.
She knows it too. Read the rest of this entry »
Adam Kredo reports: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published early Sunday a 9-step plan to “eliminate” Israel, prompting Israel’s prime minister to file a formal complaint with Western negotiators involved in nuclear talks with Tehran.
Khamenei’s official Twitter account on Sunday tweeted out the 9-step plan explaining “the proper way of eliminating Israel.”
“The only means of bringing Israeli crimes to an end is the elimination of this regime.”
— Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
“There is no moderation in Iran. It is unrepentant, unreformed.”
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
“The only means of bringing Israeli crimes to an end is the elimination of this regime,” Khamenei wrote. “And of course the elimination of Israel does not mean the massacre of the Jewish people in the region. The Islamic Republic has proposed a practical and logical mechanism for this to international communities.”
Khamenei accuses “the fake Zionist regime” of committing acts of “infanticide, homicide, violence, and iron fist while boasts about it blatantly [sic].”
Israel’s enemies must commit to “armed resistance” until Israel is eliminated, Khamenei says. Read the rest of this entry »
Associated Press – Matthew Barakat writes: A nuclear deal between the U.S., Iran and other world powers has been described as a trust-building step after decades of animosity that hopefully will lead to a more comprehensive deal down the road.
But for many of the Americans who were held hostage at the start of the Iranian revolution, trusting the regime in Tehran feels like a mistake.
“It’s kind of like Jimmy Carter all over again,” said Clair Cortland Barnes, now retired and living in Leland, N.C., after a career at the CIA and elsewhere. He sees the negotiations now as no more effective than they were in 1979 and 1980, when he and others languished, facing mock executions and other torments.
The hostage crisis began in November 1979 when militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and seized its occupants. In all, 66 were taken hostage. Thirteen were released less than three weeks later in 1979; one was released in July 1980; the remaining 52 were released Jan. 20, 1981.
Retired Air Force Col. Thomas E. Schaefer, 83, called the deal “foolishness.”
Chants of ‘Death to America’ have been part of Iranian public life for almost 35 years. But the new wave of politicians in Tehran is trying to change that, write Damien McElroy and Ahmad Vahdat
Damien McElroy, and Ahmad Vahdat report: An attempt by Iran‘s reformist president Hassan Rouhani to abolish the chant “Death to America” as part of his diplomatic drive to improve relations with the US and the West, has spurred an angry backlash among his country’s hardline establishment.
The slogan – “Marg bar Amrika” in Farsi – has rung out on official occasions in Tehran ever since the country’s Islamic revolution in 1979, born during the seizure by students of the US embassy and the 444-day hostage crisis that followed.
Beloved by hardliners, it became one of the unifying political messages of the regime and would be broadcast every Friday on national television and be echoed at many mosques after Friday prayers. Read the rest of this entry »