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U.S. Congressman Scott DesJarlais

Representing the 4th District of Tennessee

Cash In, Hostages Out!

Aug 19, 2016

It has recently become public that in January of 2016 the Obama Administration secretly transferred $400 million to Iran on “Implementation Day” of the nuclear agreement. We have now learned that the transfer of $400 million was contingent on the release of four American hostages in Tehran.

These revelations are vastly different from the information and statements provided by the Obama Administration. According to the Obama Administration this payment was one installment of $1.7 billion to resolve a dispute over a failed arms deal in 1979. On January 17th the president made the following statement, “With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” intentionally omitting any statements regarding the $400 million cash payment. However, it comes as no surprise that the administration has continued to deny all claims of ransom and has stated that it was merely a coincidence.

The record should be amended to correctly state that the Administration’s ransom payment of $400 million to Iran has put a price tag on American’s lives and further jeopardizes our country's safety. In recent weeks, Iranian officials have demanded that the United States return $2 billion in funds that were frozen previously in 2009. The list of demands is only beginning. The Obama Administration can portray their efforts as diplomatic breakthroughs all they want, but if President Obama continues to break long-standing foreign policy by negotiating with terrorists the United States will continue to incentivize and further fund the Middle East’s war on Western Civilization and fuel terror organizations such as ISIS, Assad, and Hezbollah.

Chairman Ed Royce and my fellow colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee have sent several Congressional inquiries  to the Obama Administration requesting the disclosure and methods used to pay the first installment of the $1.7 billion to Iran. In response, the committee received an incomplete reply from the administration in which they refused to disclose specifics on the negotiated $1.7 billion settlement, the transfer of $400 million, and further failed to provide information into the release of American hostages. Following the administration’s inadequate reply, the committee sent a follow-up letter urging the administration to once again comply with Congressional inquiries.

In light of new information, the Obama Administration's continued lack of transparency and actions send troubling messages to terror organizations and give precedence for further terror negotiations. I will continue to fight with my fellow colleagues in passing legislation to stop President Obama from making any further deals with regimes that incite terror and jeopardize the safety and security of the American people.