By Ray Starmann
Four-hundred million dollars worth of unmarked Swiss Francs arrive on a charter plane in the dead of night on January 17, 2016 at Iran’s Mehrabad Airport.
After the money is unloaded, counted and processed, Iran releases, Pastor Saeed Abedini, a convert from Islam who was serving an eight-year prison term for “crimes against national security”; Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, both convicted of espionage and in the latter case at one stage sentenced to death; researcher Matthew Trevithick; and an Iranian-American named as Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari.
Can it get any more sinister?
All you needed was Max von Sydow, in his famous role as Jobert, sporting a tweed hat and tinted glasses, to disembark from the plane with instructions for the mullahs.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this was indeed a ransom pay off from the US government to the Iranians.
Of course the administration rolled out its go to liars this week: Josh Earnest, John Kirby and the Secretary of Dishonesty, Mrs. Clinton, who all defended the payment as nothing more than the 400 million we owed the Iranians from 1979. We were merely paying it back to them, in the dead of night, in unmarked bills, delivered on a charter plane that just happened to coincide with the release of four American “guests” in Iran.
Even the President got involved in the plausible denial fest. He made excuses about the fact that Iran doesn’t take electronic transfers, it was the old money the Shah gave us and somehow Trump was responsible for everything bad in the universe as well.
“We announced these payments in January. Many months ago; they were not a secret,” Obama told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday. “It was not a nefarious deal.We do not pay ransom for hostages. We didn’t here. And we don’t – we won’t in the future – precisely because if we did, then we would start encouraging Americans to be targeted, much in the same way that some countries that do pay ransom end up having a lot more of their citizens being taken by various groups.”
Strangely, the President’s statement conflicts with that of one of the hostages, Saeed Abedini, who said on the Aug. 4 broadcast of the Fox Business Network’s “The Intelligence Report with Trish Regan” that on the night in January he was freed, his Iranian captors told him they were waiting on another plane to arrive before letting him go. “They told us you’re going to be there for 20 minutes. But it took like hours and hours,” Abedini said. “We slept at the airport, and when I asked them why you don’t let us go, because the plane was there, pilot was there, everyone was ready that we leave the country, they said we are waiting for another plane, and until that plane doesn’t come, we never let you go.”
The ransom payment, and it was a ransom payment, was just another shameful incident in a litany of continual disgraces in US/Iranian relations.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry decided long ago that their foreign policy legacy was going to hinge on the Iran Deal. They have done and will do anything to placate Iran to ensure the continuance of this monstrosity; the most catastrophically stupid, ineptly negotiated document in world history since Chamberlain stood on a runway and declared he had obtained “peace in our time” with Herr Hitler.
The Obama Administration’s motto is, “Let the Iranians know, who wish us ill, that we shall pay any ransom, bear any insult, run from any challenge, abandon Israel, in order to assure the survival of the Iranian nuclear program and its success.”
The pictures which show John Kerry bowing to the Iranians our simply nauseating. Mr. Secretary, please do not bow to foreign dignitaries. We are Americans. We don’t bow to anyone, especially to murdering religious zealots from Iran.
The Iranian nuclear deal does nothing for the US, NATO and Israel and everything for Iran. They get 1.7 billion dollars to fund terrorism, buy modern military equipment and continue research which will eventually allow them to acquire the bomb. The Iran Deal threatens not only the stability of the region, but the entire world.
The Iranians clearly know that a sucker is born every minute.
Currently, the Iranians have a new crop of American “guests” in their country: Baquer Namazi, Siamak Namazi, both Iranian-Americans and Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent who has been there since 2007. Why wasn’t Levinson exchanged? Is he even alive?
I wonder how much Obama and Kerry are going to pay to get these people out?
The Iranians also know that the US military is a weak sister under the Obama Administration. Nothing can be more demonstrative of this than the disgraceful performance of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf last January. Lieutenant David Nartker, in command of two US Navy Riverine craft and armed with superior firepower, surrendered his boats and men to Iranian thugs in dinghies without even firing so much as a flare.
Also, in January, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards fired rockets within 1500 yards of the carrier, the USS Harry Truman. What did we do? Nothing. Iran threatens, insults and mocks us and we do nothing.
The US and Iran have been on a collision course since 1979 when they took 52 American hostages and held them for 444 days. A dithering President Carter finally launched a bold and ambitious rescue mission, which ended in disaster because of equipment and weather problems and lack of inter-service coordination.
Strangely, the hostages were released as President Reagan was sworn in on January 29, 1981. The Iranians sensed and for good reason, that Reagan was playing for keeps.
In 1983, Hezbollah detonated a truck bomb that killed 242 US Marines on the tarmac of Beirut International Airport. The US had evidence the bomb trail led back to Iran through Hezbollah, yet we did nothing in response except leave Lebanon.
In 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest ruled to release $1.75 billion of Iranian funds, held in a New York Citibank account, to set up a fund for victims of the 1983 bombing. Of course this money has now been transferred to the Iranians, as part of the nuclear deal.
Reagan made very few mistakes, but not launching a military strike on Iran at this time was certainly a major gaffe on his part.
The US supported Iraq during the Iran/Iraq War in the 1980’s. Subsequently, the US Navy, in support of Kuwait, was involved in several firefights with the Iranian Navy in the so called Tanker War in 1988.
Since the 1980’s, the Iranians have continued to back Hezbollah in Lebanon, cause trouble for the US whenever and wherever possible, while repeatedly threatening to destroy our top ally in the region, Israel.
The US must finally play hardball with Iran. The current Iranian nuclear deal must be put through a very large cross strip shredder and its remains mailed to the Iranians in Teheran. The deal should either be completely forgotten or re-negotiated under terms much more severe than before.
The US must demand that Iran immediately release its current group of American hostages. Any failure to do so will result in immediate US military action against Iran. Furthermore, Iran must be warned that any future taking of American hostages will also result in immediate military action.
Any threats against the US Navy in the Persian Gulf must be met with overwhelming force. If Iran fires missiles too close to US Navy ships of war, the Iranian installation or ship that fired the missiles will be decimated.
If Iranian Naval Forces threaten US Navy ships in any capacity, they will be given one warning then destroyed if necessary.
Iran is not our friend. Iran is an enemy of the United States. Until a new regime in Iran takes power and offers an olive branch to America, we must be vigilant, smart and tough when dealing with Iran.