Saturday, August 13, 2016

Senators to Secretary Kerry: Taxpayers Deserve Truth on Cash Transfer to Iran

US Senators Johnny Isakson and Davie Perdue issued the following statement this week:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Contact: Isakson Press Office, 202-224-7777
Perdue Press Office, 202-224-3521

Senators to Secretary Kerry: Taxpayers Deserve Truth on Cash Transfer to Iran
Iran's defense budget indicates expanding military, nefarious operations at Americans’ expense

ATLANTA – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., along with Mark Kirk, R-Ill., today wrote to U.S Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Obama administration to provide the American people with more information on the secret $400 million cash payment to Iran made by the Obama administration concurrently with negotiations to release several Americans who were wrongfully imprisoned by Iran..

“Iran has a long history of fomenting instability and violence throughout the Middle East, posing an existential threat to our friend and ally, Israel, and killing or otherwise endangering innocent Americans,” the senators wrote. “We are concerned that this payment, along with the swap for seven Iranian prisoners detained in the U.S., has and will continue to encourage further hostage-taking of Americans by Iran.”
“Iran has increased its defense budget by $1.7 billion—exactly the same amount as the U.S. settlement payment. Can you confirm that this is true? Does this not indicate to you that Iran is expanding its military and nefarious operations at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer?” the senators asked Secretary Kerry regarding the $1.7 billion settlement payment that President Obama agreed to pay the rogue nation.

In addition, the senators called for answers from Secretary Kerry to the following questions:

  1. What account was used to provide this currency to Iran?
  2. How was the foreign currency shipment facilitated?
  3. Where did the flight of the cargo plane used for the payment originate from?
  4. Where was the currency exchanged from U.S. dollars?
  5. Why did the Administration not disclose information about this payment to Congress?
  6. Were any sanctions or U.S. law violated by this currency transfer?
  7. Upon making this payment, did you have any monitoring systems in place for the end-use of this cash?
  8. Did you receive any assurances from the Iranians that this payment would not be used to fund terrorism, the Assad regime in Syria, or other Iranian efforts to further sow instability in the region?
  9. Can you assure us that U.S. taxpayer dollars—specifically the hard currency provided in the January 2016 shipment—have not been used to fund terrorism?
  10. Why would the Administration pay Iran $1.7 billion, when Iran owes its American victims so much more?
  11. What efforts is the Administration making to ensure that these American victims and their families receive damages that Iran owes them?
  12. Was this settlement agreement in any way linked to the release of these American hostages?
  13. Would Iran have released these American hostages had this currency transfer not taken place?

View the full letter here.