The House of Representatives today passed the No More Cash Ransoms to Iran bill which prohibits future cash payments to Iran and demands transparency in any future settlements with the nation, which remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.
“At almost every step, what the Administration has said about this deal is not true,” said Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.). “We know now the payment was connected to the release of the hostages. We also know cash was not the only way to pay. The President’s actions set a dangerous precedent and endanger American lives. It is poor policy.”
The bill comes in response to the Administration’s recent $400 million cash payment to Iran as part of a larger $1.7 billion settlement. The transaction has been mired in speculation and half-truths since it became known the $400 million payment—made in unmarked foreign cash—was airlifted to Iran on the same day American hostages were released.
President Obama, on August 4th, explained using cash, saying “[t]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 since refuted the claim, acknowledging at least two other occasions the U.S. sent money to Iran via a wire transfer.
“This bill is simple,” Hartzler added, “it will not allow cash payments to Iran for any reason, and it demands transparency in future deals with Iran. We need to make sure actions are made above board and in line with longstanding U.S. policy.”
According to the bill’s sponsor, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the bill makes clear that the Obama Administration violated longstanding U.S. policy by releasing prisoners and paying ransom for the return of Americans held hostage by Iran; prohibits cash payments to Iran—period; and demands transparency on future settlements to ensure they are not used to pay ransom.