August 4, 2016
The $400 million foreign cash payment from the U.S. occurred as four detained Americans were released from Iranian custody. Several senior DOJ officials reportedly told the Wall Street Journal immediate concerns were sent up the chain of command.
The Obama administration claimed the timing of the payment was coincidental and the $400 million payment was part of a bigger $1.7 billion settlement from a failed 1970′s arms deal. However, the secrecy and tactics behind the payment have resulted in harsh criticism from outside observers. The money was converted to Swiss francs, euros and other currencies and then secretly airlifted to the radical regime. Reacting to the Wall Street Journal report, columnist Charles Krauthammer said the payment was essentially “money laundering.” A federal statute prohibits the U.S. from providing U.S. dollars to Iran.
“They had to print the money here, ship it over to Switzerland, turn it into Swiss francs and Euros and ship it over to Iran,” he said. “If a private company had done this, this is called money laundering. The CEO would be in jail right now.”