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Blunt Statement on Alarming New Report Detailing Obama Administration’s Ransom Payment to Iran

August 03, 2016

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) released the following statement on today’s Wall Street Journal report that the Obama administration delivered $400 million in hard currency to Iran – the world’s leading state sponsor of terror – at the same time that the Iranian regime released five U.S. hostages in January.

“Today’s report that the Obama administration delivered $400 million in hard currency to Iran on the same day that five American hostages were released provides further evidence that this was nothing less than a ransom payment made to a terrorist regime with American blood on its hands," Blunt said. "The administration claims that the payment had nothing to do with the release of the hostages, and was made as part of an unrelated $1.7 billion settlement for a decades-old claim stemming from a foreign military sale prior to the fall of the Shah. The timing of the cash transfer clearly suggests otherwise. By giving in to the ransom demands of a terrorist regime, the administration has made all Americans, and our allies, less safe.”

Earlier this year, Blunt sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew demanding answers about the timing of the administration’s settlement with Iran and the source of the funds that were used to pay it. In the letter, Blunt asked Kerry and Lew whether U.S. taxpayers would be footing the bill for the massive payout, and whether the timing of the settlement constitutes a ransom. In its response, the administration confirmed that taxpayers would be on the hook for the $1.7 billion payment, but denied any connection between the settlement and the prisoners’ release.

Blunt continued, “The Iranian government lost any claim to the $400 million in the FMS account when it supported attacks that killed and injured Americans, including the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. We are glad that the five Americans who were held hostage in Iran are back with their families, and our prayers remain with the family of former FBI Agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for more than nine years. However, the administration owes the American people answers as to why it would hand $1.7 billion, including $400 million in hard currency, to a regime that has sponsored deadly attacks against our citizens, fomented violence and instability throughout the Middle East, and threatened the very existence of our allies.”

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