According to a report Thursday by the Wall Street Journal, the manner in which a $400 million payment was made coinciding with the release of Americans by Iran effectively confirms the payment was a ransom.
According to that report, the plane containing the $400 million—in foreign currencies, since U.S. law forbids the transfer of dollars to the Islamic Republic—could not be offloaded until the plane with the Americans was "wheels up." Once the Americans were in the air, the Iranians were allowed to have the cash.
The report matches with a story told back in January by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps General Reza Naghdi, who said the payment was in exchange for "American spies." Obama Administration officials, however, continue to say the payment was for an unrelated disputed resolved through the UN's International Court of Justice at The Hague.
The release of the Americans was instead the product of "strong American diplomacy," which also led to the Iran nuclear deal.
If this was a ransom, however, this has serious implications for the security of Americans abroad, particularly Christian missionaries working in harm's way. They could become targets for groups that operate on the premise they may profit from ransoms paid by the U.S.
Any money funneled to Iran is likely to contribute to global radical Islamist terrorism. Not only is Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, but it has been expanding its funding of those activities in recent years.
Iran has exerted its influence in the Middle East, and has used the additional funding to rearm Hezbollah in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. It also funds Shia terrorist groups that prey upon Sunni Muslims and other religious minorities—including Christians—in Iraq.
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