Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Not Ransom

President Obama dismissed suggestions a that a $400 million payment to Iran was ransom paid in return for the release of American hostages.
Obama explained: "We do not pay ransom. We didn't here, and we won't in the future.  Those families know we have a policy that we don't pay ransom.  And the notion that we would somehow start now, in this high-profile way, and announce it to the world, even as we're looking in the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage, and saying to them we don't pay ransom, defies logic.

"We announced these payments in January.  Many months ago.  It wasn't a secret.  We were completely open with everybody about it."

Secretary of State John Kerry insisted: "First of all, the United States of America does not pay ransom and does not negotiate ransoms with any country.  We never have and we're not doing that now.  It is not our policy."

The money was flown to Iran on a plane carrying wooden pallets stacked with Swiss francs, euros and other currencies.  The payment was made with Obama's approval as the first share of a $1.7 billion settlement resolving claims at an international tribunal at The Hague.  Those claims were linked to a failed arms deal, when Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi ruled Iran.   The Islamic Revolution toppled the brutal regime of the Shah of Iran in 1979.  Our country cut ties with Iran, and we were left with the disputed Iranian funds.

Iran had been seeking more than $10 billion in arbitration.  The Obama administration announced in January that it would pay $1.7 billion to Iran.

Cash was delivered in an unorthodox manner because Iran was still isolated from the international financial system due to international sanctions.


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