Two weeks ago it was widely reported that the American government sent $400 million to Iran at the same time four detained American prisoners were released by the terrorist state. Naturally, when asked about the “coincidence,” the Obama administration vehemently denied that the $400 million was a ransom.
On Wednesday the Wall Street Journal published newly discovered details about the money delivery/prisoner release that indicates the Obama administration is lying about the $400 million not being a ransom.
According to the Journal, the movement of the wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs, and other currencies was part of “a tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.”
Speaking to U.S. officials and others who know about the operation the Journal learned:
U.S. officials wouldn’t let Iranians take control of the money until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three freed Americans departed from Tehran on Jan. 17. Once that happened, an Iranian cargo plane was allowed to bring the cash home from a Geneva airport that day.
Combine that with what we learned from one of the freed prisoners, Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was interviewed:
I just remember the night at the airport sitting for hours and hours there, and I asked police, ‘Why are you not letting us go.’ He said, ‘We are waiting for another plane so if that plane doesn’t come, we never let [you] go.’
After Abedini’s interview, the administration flatly denied that there was any kind of sequencing,
I’m not going to get into the tick-tock of specifics, but claims that our freed Americans were not allowed to depart Iran until a plane full of cash landed anywhere are false. As U.S. officials have previously publicly discussed, there was a delay in our citizens being released that day that had nothing to do with The Hague settlement and was related to resolving some last-minute issues solely related to the prisoners – most importantly, locating and ensuring all of the individuals who were involved with the prisoner swap were on the plane and ready to depart – Mr. Rezaian, Mr. Abedini, Mr. Hekmati. Suffice it to say getting all the pieces put into place, making sure our citizens were released, and with our reciprocal goodwill gesture of providing relief to certain Iranian citizens here in the United States, required delicate diplomacy up to the end. So I think that answers your question. The hostages weren’t held up pending the cash.
And when State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau was asked a follow-up question about the timing of the cash arrival and the plane’s takeoff, she refused to answer.
Cross-posted at The Lid