The fact that the administration went through the trouble of paying Iran in foreign currencies like francs and euros shows that they knew what they were doing was illegal, as using dollars in transactions with the country are expressly prohibited by law. Not only this, but the White House has basically sent a message to enemy nations that they can get whatever they want from the US if they take our citizens hostage:
“Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican lawmaker from Arkansas, has accused Obama of paying ‘a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for US hostages.’
‘This break with longstanding US policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures of Americans,’ he told the Wall Street Journal.
US officials have refuted claims the money was sent to secure the release of the four Americans, however.
‘As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim…were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,’ State Department spokesman John Kirby told the newspaper.
‘Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of The Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years,’ he added.
Despite congressional queries, the Obama administration has never said how it paid any of the $1.7 billion to Iran, apart from saying it wasn’t disbursed in US dollars.
An Ohio Republican Bill Johnson said he will ask to appoint a special committee to investigate what he called a ‘very serious violation of American policy.’
‘For decades, American foreign policy has been to not pay ransom for hostages, because to do so only encourages more kidnapping of Americans,’ Johnson said in a statement.
‘Not only did the Obama administration violate this common-sense policy, it did so secretly.
If true, this would make the Iran-Contra affair look like jaywalking,’ he added.”
As if the administration’s denial that the money transfer had nothing to do with the release of the prisoners, State Department spokesperson John Kirby declared Iran’s acceptance of money in exchange for freeing the Americans a “gesture of peace”:
“‘And this is yet another proof that America is the rightful leader of the free world,’ Kirby said. ‘By working hard and paying taxes, every single American can be a hero. When you work hard and pay your taxes, you enable your government to spend loads of money on ridiculously expensive private jets, gas for government cars, latest-generation assault weaponry and, in this case, ransom for American spies captured overseas. In other words, by chasing after your very own American dream, you help realize the dreams of not only your government, but also many corrupted, America-hating enemy governments of the world, as well. And this sort of thing makes me very proud to be an American and to have a job in the U.S. State Department,’ Kirby concluded.”
In the eyes of Donald Trump, it wasn’t so much a “gesture of peace” as it was a “scandal”, tying the payment to Hillary Clinton’s efforts to engage with the Islamic nation during her time as Secretary of State: