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Bradley Byrne Accuses Obama Administration of Paying Ransom to Iran

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Sunday, September 16, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) commented on press reports that in addition to the plane load of cash the Obama Administration flew to Iran there were also two wire transfers of money to the Islamic Revolutionary nation.

Congressman Byrne said on social media, “The Obama Administration is having a hard time telling the truth about their ransom payment to Iran. President Obama said the reason the payment was made in cash was because they are prohibited from making wire transfers to Iran due to banking sanctions. Well, it turns out we have made wire transfers to Iran. Something doesn’t add up here.”

Rep. Byrne cited original reporting by Politico’s Louis Nelson that the United States has made at least two separate payments to the Iranian government via wire transfer within the last 14 months, a Treasury Department spokesman confirmed Saturday, contradicting explanations from President Barack Obama that such payments were impossible.

Responding to questions at an Aug. 4 press conference about a $400 million payment delivered in cash to the Iranian government, Pres. Obama said, “]he reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran that we couldn’t send them a check and we could not wire the money.:

A Treasury Department spokesman acknowledged on Saturday that on July 2015, the same month in which the US, Iran and other countries announced a landmark nuclear agreement, the US government paid Iran approximately $848,000. That payment settled a claim over architectural drawings and fossils that are now housed in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and Iran’s Ministry of Environment. Then, in April 2016, the US wired Iran approximately $9 million to remove 32 metric tons of its heavy water, which is used to produce plutonium and can aid in the making of nuclear weapons.

Senators James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) and David Perdue (R-Georgia) introduced the JCPOA Enforcement Transparency Act, which would increase oversight of the Joint Commission, a committee created under the Iran Nuclear Deal to monitor implementation, and call on the US representative to the Commission to oppose further exemptions for Iran.

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Sen. Lankford said, “We discovered over the past several weeks that President Obama sent $1.7 billion in cash to Iran, which was used as leverage to secure the release of Americans held hostage in Iran, and now we know the President also made it easier for Iran to comply with its obligations. The bill that Senator Perdue and I wrote will shed more light on the Administration’s clandestine dealings with the Islamic Republic. Every American’s name was signed implicitly onto the Nuclear Deal when President Obama agreed to legitimize Iran’s nuclear program in July 2015, so every American is entitled to the details of this deal.”

Sen. Lankford said, “From its inception, I have been working to stop President Obama’s dangerous nuclear deal with Iran,” said Perdue. “The United States should be punishing Iran for its illicit behavior, not rewarding Iran with an economic boost of billions of dollars. Unfortunately, with the help of a majority of Senate Democrats, President Obama was able to move forward with his nuclear deal. Nine months later, we have learned the Joint Commission charged with overseeing the implementation of the nuclear deal issued waivers to Iran in order to make them compliant—essentially allowing Iran to break the rules before the deal had even gone into effect. This is inexcusable. What will it to take for the Obama Administration to hold Iran truly accountable, and show the belligerent nation enough is enough?”

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has regularly criticized the Iran dean which he says is bad for the US.

Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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