This week the Obama administration finally confirmed that the timing of the 400 million that was sent to Iran and the release of five American prisoners was not exactly a coincidence. To which everyone said tell us something we don’t know. Then the administration tried to convince Republicans that delaying a leverage payment and paying a ransom are two different things. To which the Republicans said if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then Obama is clearly not capable of running this country. Obama has been trying to cement his foreign policy legacy in his last presidential year, and this settlement payment on top of the completed Iran nuclear deal seems to show that the two countries are now in a relationship. But critics seem determined to make sure Iran and the US are never, ever, ever getting back together.
So why would the US give so much money to a foreign country that has been implicated in terrorism you ask? Because it was paying back a debt from the 70s – Iran paid the money as part of an arms deal but Washington didn’t deliver. And it took until now to pay it back because diplomacy takes a really long time. Plus the US froze Iranian relations and assets because of that little hostage crisis which you saw in the Canada-loving, beard-flaunting, fake-movie-making Argo. But many are saying that the US has better things to spend its money on and in an election year, things could get messy.
Evidently completing a nuclear deal, an arms settlement, and a prisoner swap with a potentially volatile country requires a bit of delicate diplomatic negotiating. So should Obama have done exactly what he did and tried to repair relations with a country that the US regards a bit uneasily or should he have done a little light summer reading on, say, The Art of the Deal and tried to get out of the repayment? Either way, a little less denial and a few more specifics from the state department might have helped the administration avoid the Iran-gate accusations and would have made it a lot harder for Republicans to spread misinformation between now and the election.
Want to know how to deal with a ransom? Follow your gut. Movie for your mood: Ransom!