"Millions for Defense, but Not One Cent for Tribute."
- US Senator Robert Goodloe Harper, 1798
In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "The GOP gets the Iran prisoner swap wrong," Charles Krauthammer labels the recent prisoner exchange with Iran as "asymmetric," yet reasonable:
"Republicans say: We shouldn’t negotiate with terror states. But we do and we should. How else do you get hostages back? And yes, of course negotiating encourages further hostage taking. But there is always something to be gained by kidnapping Americans. This swap does not affect that truth one way or the other.
And here, we didn’t give away much. The seven released Iranians, none of whom has blood on his hands, were sanctions busters (and a hacker), and sanctions are essentially over now. The slate is clean."
The US "didn't give much away"? Oh really? In an article entitled "Basij Commander: US Bought Freedom of Spies by Releasing $1.7 bln of Iran's Frozen Assets," Iran's Fars News Agency informs us:
"Commander of Iran's Basij (volunteer) Force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said the US agreed to release $1.7 of Iran's frozen funds in a bid to buy freedom of its spies held by Tehran.
The US agreed to repay Iran a $400 million debt and $1.3 billion in interest dating to the Islamic revolution.
'The annulment of sanctions against Iran's Bank Sepah and reclaiming of $1.7mln of Iran's frozen assets after 36 years showed that the US doesn’t understand anything but the language of force,' Naqdi said, addressing Basij forces in Tehran on Wednesday.
'This money was returned for the freedom of the US spy and it was not related to the (nuclear) negotiations,' he added."
Or stated otherwise, the release of the Americans involved more than a prisoner exchange. It also involved the payment of ransom.
Moreover, Naqdi's claim has been confirmed by the US government. As reported by Adam Kredo in a Washington Free Beacon article entitled "Obama Admin Paid Iran $1.7 Billion From Taxpayer Funds":
"Senior officials from the State Department and White House National Security Council confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that to settle outstanding legal disputes with Iran, the administration tapped into the Treasury Department’s Judgment Fund, a federal account that has been used by the executive branch to settle international legal claims.
The settlement was reached independently from the recently implemented nuclear deal and is separate from the $150 billion in unfrozen cash assets the United States is obligated to give to the Islamic Republic under the agreement, administration officials explained to the Free Beacon."
Acceptable? US Senator Jerry Moran doesn't think so. As also reported by Adam Kredo in a Washington Free Beacon article entitled "Congress Moves to Block Payment to Iran of $1.7 Billion in Taxpayer Funds":
"The news has sparked outrage on Capitol Hill and prompted Sen. Jerry Moran (R., Kan.) to file legislation Thursday afternoon that would bar the administration from moving forward on the payment until Iran pays millions in judgments awarded to the U.S. victims of its global terrorist network, according to the bill.
'The United States should not be funding governments that openly violate human rights, proudly disregard U.N. Security Council resolutions, and call for the destruction of America and its allies,' Moran said in a statement. 'This bill directs the U.S. government to put justice for American victims of Iranian terrorism ahead of compensation for the Iranian regime.'
'Rather than incentivize state-sponsored kidnapping, the administration should remind the government of Iran that terror and hostage taking are not for-profit enterprises,' Moran said."
Or, as US Senator Robert Goodloe Harper declared more than 200 years ago, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute."
Needless to say, I agree with Krauthammer's determination that implementation of Obama's unsigned nuclear deal with Iran is a disaster:
"The real story of Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 — 'Implementation Day' of the Iran deal — was that it marked a historic inflection point in the geopolitics of the Middle East. In a stroke, Iran shed almost four decades of rogue-state status and was declared a citizen of good standing of the international community, open to trade, investment and diplomacy. This, without giving up, or even promising to change, its policy of subversion and aggression. This, without having forfeited its status as the world’s greatest purveyor of terrorism."
On the other hand, Obama's payment of an additional $1.7 billion to Iran amounts to a grotesque form of appeasement and will only encourage Tehran to incarcerate more innocent Americans.