President Obama’s Plane Full of Cash to Iran Recklessly Endangers America


Jay Sekulow

August 5, 2016

5 min read

Executive Power



As part of the disastrous Iran deal, President Obama surreptitiously sent a plane full of cash – $400 million – to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The bombshell report, detailing how the Administration flew an unmarked cargo plane filled with wooden pallets of cash (stacks of Euros and Swiss Francs) to the leading state sponsor of terrorism, has sent shockwaves through Washington and the rest of America.

The ramifications of this mind-numbingly disastrous move are earth shattering.

More than $400 million was handed over to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. This cash could be distributed by Iran to Hezbollah or any other terrorist organizations funded by Iran around the world, without any tracking or tracing.

The money was delivered the same day that Iran released four Americans it had wrongfully imprisoned for years.

One clear question surfaces: Did the Obama Administration break decades-long federal policy in paying a ransom for the Americans held hostage by Iran?

The recent Wall Street Journal report details how Department of Justice officials raised this question at the time:

Senior Justice Department officials objected to sending a plane loaded with cash to Tehran at the same time that Iran released four imprisoned Americans, but their objections were overruled by the State Department, according to people familiar with the discussions.

After announcing the release of the Americans in January, President Barack Obama also said the U.S. would pay $1.7 billion to Iran to settle a failed arms deal dating back to 1979. What wasn’t disclosed then was that the first payment would be $400 million in cash, flown in at the same time, as The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The timing and manner of the payment raised alarms at the Justice Department, according to those familiar with the discussions. “People knew what it was going to look like, and there was concern the Iranians probably did consider it a ransom payment,’’ said one of the people.

They were objecting for very good reason. Since the 1970s, the United States has had a policy against negotiating with terrorists who have kidnapped or wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizens and held them hostage. President Obama recently affirmed such a policy with Presidential Policy Directive (PPD-30), which states in pertinent part:

The United States is committed to achieving the safe and rapid recovery of U.S. nationals taken hostage outside the United States. The United States Government will work in a coordinated effort to leverage all instruments of national power to recover U.S. nationals held hostage abroad, unharmed.

The United States Government will strive to counter and diminish the global threat of hostage-taking; reduce the likelihood of U.S. nationals being taken hostage; and enhance United States Government preparation to maximize the probability of a favorable outcome following a hostage-taking.

The United States will use every appropriate resource to gain the safe return of U.S. nationals who are held hostage. But the United States Government will make no concessions to individuals or groups holding U.S. nationals hostage. It is United States policy to deny hostage-takers the benefits of ransom, prisoner releases, policy changes, or other acts of concession. This policy protects U.S. nationals and strengthens national security by removing a key incentive for hostage-takers to target U.S. nationals, thereby interrupting the vicious cycle of hostage-takings, and by helping to deny terrorists and other malicious actors the money, personnel, and other resources they need to conduct attacks against the United States, its nationals, and its interests. 

Such a policy makes perfect sense.  If the U.S. government paid ransom to terrorists, it would incentivize further kidnapping and hostage-taking.

Let me make one thing clear: As we represented one of those hostages and advocated for the release of all four Americans wrongly held in Iran, we urged the Administration to demand the release of the imprisoned American hostages BEFORE beginning any negotiations with Iran. It should have been a precondition, not an afterthought.

The Obama Administration’s reckless conduct in the nuclear negotiations may cost more American lives and endangers the safety and security of American citizens across the world.

The Administration continues to deceive the American people and Congress.  It lied about when the nuclear negotiations with Iran began.  It lied about who those negotiations began with – a radical Islamic regime, not the supposedly more moderate regime as the Administration told the American people.  It deceived Congress about secret side deals with Iran that now allow Iran to race toward nuclear weapons in only half the time previously known.

This is also why we continue to fight against the Obama Administration’s lawlessness and lies, demanding truth and accountability about every aspect of our negotiations with Iran. We’re currently in federal court demanding the truth about the Administration’s lies about when the negotiations began and their subsequent cover-up.

The American people deserve the truth, not more lies.  They deserve security, not recklessly dangerous foreign policy.

Sign our petition below to demand justice and accountability.