by RICK MORAN
On the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America, Joe Biden issued a waiver for banks to legally transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds. The waiver would allow the transfer of funds without the banks running afoul of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
It’s still unknown how much Iran — if any — was involved in the 9/11 attacks. The fact that the radical Sunnis of al-Qaeda and the radical Shiites of Iran usually hated each other didn’t stop numerous interactions between the two. Several al-Qaeda members hid out in Tehran following 9/11, and several of the hijackers transited Iran on their way to Afghanistan, making it hard to track them.
But Iran shed no tears for Americans on 9/11. And the idea of Biden working with a terrorist state and giving it cash on the anniversary of the worst terror attack on the United States in its history is breathtakingly callous.
The waiver is a key piece in the cash-for-hostages swap engineered by the Biden administration and announced in August. The deal was that the U.S. would unfreeze $6 billion and Iran would release five American hostages held on trumped-up charges. “Iran will be allowed to access the funds only to buy food, medicine or other humanitarian purposes, in accordance with existing U.S. sanctions against the country,” reported NBC News at the time.
And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in over the Chicago River I’d love to sell you.
Apparently, the Biden administration is interested in a bridge deal like that. Not even when Iran announces that it has every intention of spending that $6 billion any way it wants to does the Biden administration pull back on the deal.
“This money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told NBC.
Asked if the money would be used for other purposes apart from humanitarian needs, Raisi said: “Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs, so this money will be budgeted for those needs and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government.”
The prisoner exchange calls for the release of five American citizens held in Iran in return for five Iranians under detention in the U.S., and also grants Tehran access to the $6 billion in oil revenues that have been blocked.
The five American prisoners were placed under house arrest Aug. 10 as a first step in the agreement, with their release contingent on the transfer of the funds from South Korea to Qatar’s central bank.
The original plan involved transferring the Iranian money, currently held in South Korean banks, to banks in Qatar — a close ally of Iran. The Biden administration continues to insist that Iran will only spend the money on “humanitarian” concerns. The waiver language includes this:
“[T]he United States has committed to release five Iranian nationals currently detained in the United States and to permit the transfer of approximately $6 billion in Iranian funds held in restricted accounts in the ROK (Republic of Korea) to restricted accounts in Qatar, where the funds will be available only for humanitarian trade.”
In every negotiation the United States has undertaken, Iran ignores the plain language of an agreement’s text and substitutes its own interpretation of the written word. The only question is why starry-eyed leftists like Barack Obama and Joe Biden keep falling into the trap.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken thinks the U.S. will have a say in how the unfrozen funds will be used.
“These funds will be moved to restricted accounts in Qatar, and the United States will have oversight as to how and when these funds are used,” the State Department said in a statement Monday. “It is longstanding U.S. policy to ensure our sanctions do not prevent food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods and services from flowing to ordinary people, no matter how objectionable their governments.”
How is the U.S. going to have “oversight” of Iranian funds in Qatar banks when Qatar is a close ally of Tehran? That’s only one question about this cash-for-hostages deal that the Biden administration is going to have to answer for.
The biggest concern of opponents of the deal is that paying about a billion dollars per hostage is likely to encourage Iran to take more Americans prisoner. This doesn’t seem to bother the administration despite proof going back to the 1980s that Iran is not only a terrorist state but a pirate state as well that uses hostage-taking as a matter of government policy.