Last week, President Obama was asked whether the $400 million cash payment to Iran that occurred just as they released four detained Americans was a ransom. He was also asked if he could assure us that the money was not going to be used for terrorism. Spoiler alert: we got no assurances. Instead, we got a lecture. The president noted how this payment was not secret, as it was earmarked in previous appropriations bills; it was not some nefarious deal since White House lawyers advised the Obama White House to settle the decades-old grievance regarding these frozen assets; and that the timing of the release dates back to the negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program.
Yep, the president pretty much said that it’s great that we had an official dialogue with Iran for the first time since the 1979 revolution, though they still fund terror, Hezbollah, and prop up Syria. So, I’m not so sure why this is a good thing. Obama added that the Iran nuclear deal was working, and that the unfrozen assets have not been used for terrorist activities. Well, in the first months since the deal was agreed upon, Iran had access to $3 billion of that money; we don’t know if it was used for terrorism. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that some sanctions relief was going to be used for terrorism. Even National Security Director wasn’t naïve enough to say that Iran would be well behaved once we gave up funds. She said that portions of it would probably be used to finance terrorist activity as well.
This is all hopelessly doomed to fail—and the evidence is clear, despite the president’s assurance that all is well. Iran’s uranium stockpile has grown; the State Department noted that Iran actually didn’t sign the deal (and that it's not legally binding); and the country has been caught cheating on the parameters of the agreements as well. I know, shocking, right?
Still, the president gave no assurances that this cash payment would be used to fund terrorist activities, dancing around the issue instead by offering confidence that his signature foreign policy achievement would succeed. In reality, it was just a way for him to buy time, as Obama didn’t want to have to order airstrikes. It’s another hot potato that will be dropped in the lap of the next guy or gal.