Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the highest ranking member on the House Foreign Relations Committee sent a scathing letter to Secretary of State John Kerry demanding an explanation of a mysterious $1.7 billion payment to Iran. This payment took place on the same day that Iran released five civilian American prisoners including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former Marine Amir Hekmati, and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and around the same exact time that Iran took ten American Navy Sailors hostage overnight and made them film and pose for ridiculous propaganda.
You tell us if this doesn’t warrant an aggressive investigation:
- January 12th – Iran takes 10 American Navy Sailors hostage and makes them perform ridiculous propaganda (pictures and videos)
- January 13th – Iran releases the American Navy Sailor hostages
- January 17th: $1.7 billion dollar payment made
- January 17th: 5 American hostages released
It seems to us that while negotiations to release the 5 civilian hostages were deep and ongoing for at least several months, Iran wanted their money and made a power play by taking American Navy Sailors hostage as a provocation to get what they want.
The Obama administration has explained the payment as $400 million to settle a dispute over funds frozen in 1979 and $1.3 billion in “interest.”
Rep. Royce has sent Kerry a list of 10 questions he wants answers. The questions include an inquiry into how the administration calculated this interest, a timeline of the negotiations and who was involved.
He also is asking Kerry why this money wasn’t used to “compensate American victims of Iranian terrorism who have been awarded judgments against Iran.”
He went on to say in the letter:
“I have a larger concern that in choosing to resolve this relatively minor bilateral dispute at this time, the Obama Administration is aggressively moving towards reestablishing diplomatic relations with Iran. Such action would clearly violate the President’s pledge to ‘remain vigilant’ in countering the threat Iran poses to the United States and our allies in the region.”
The suspicious timing of the payment have many speculating that this was a quid pro quo deal, or in other words, an exchange – five hostages for $1.7 billion.
From Fox News:
The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee demanded Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry explain a $1.7 billion settlement paid to Iran that some Republicans have described as a “ransom” tied to last month’s release of five American prisoners.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., complained in a letter to Kerry that his committee was not consulted about the payment. The Obama administration claimed the agreement was made to settle a dispute with Iran over $400 million in frozen funds that dated back to 1979. The remaining $1.3 billion was described by the Obama administration as “interest”.
“It is unclear how this $1.7 billion payment is in the national security interests of the United States,” Royce wrote.
Was this payment quid pro quo or was the timing a coincidence? Sound off in the comments below!