At this point, there really is no way for the White House to spin their lies about the Iran payments positively. Obama’s earlier claim that he had to pay the Islamic Republic $1.7 billion in foreign currency because the banking system would not allow for it, like most of his statements, rings hollow after this latest revelation:
“Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who discovered the two wire transfer payments in briefings with Obama administration officials, echoed those concerns in an interview with POLITICO on Thursday.
‘Oh, I don’t have any question that Iran wants the money in cash because they wanted it faster than what a wire transfer would be and it’s fungible,’ Lankford said. ‘They announced pretty quickly afterward that they were expanding their defense and their military budget by $1.7 billion dollars, an exact amount that we had just sent over to them. So I don’t think that was accidental.’
‘But when you give cash, we can’t track,’ he continued. ‘Did that go to Hezbollah? Did that go to the Russians? Did that go to the coup in Yemen? There’s no way to be able to track that.’
Republicans, including Lankford, have also suggested that the $1.7 billion delivery constituted a ‘ransom’ payment because it was delivered on the same day that U.S. prisoners were released by Iran. The president dismissed such claims during his Aug. 4 press conference as ‘the manufacturing of outrage’ and said unequivocally, ‘we don’t pay ransom for hostages.’
But State Department spokesman John Kirby acknowledged two weeks later that the U.S. had refused to deliver the cash to Iran until its prisoners were wheels up from Tehran, a decision Kirby said the U.S. made to ‘retain maximum leverage’ over the Iranians. Despite that admission, he maintained that the arrangement did not in any way constitute a ransom payment.”