Obama Lied: New Details Confirm $400 Million Given To Iran Was Indeed "Hostage Ransom"

Tyler Durden's picture

For the self-described "most transparent administration ever" it appears keeping the lies straight is becoming harder and harder. Having slammed the press, Donald Trump, and anyone who dare mention the "lack of logic" in paying a $400 million ransom for 4 Iran hostages, WSJ reports that Treasury officials have confirmed that Obama lied and in fact, the tightly scripted exchange of cash was specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran. Trump was right again.

As a reminder, The Hill reported that, President Obama chastised the press for their coverage of the payment, noting that the deal with Iran was announced months ago as part of a larger diplomatic settlement.

"This wasn’t some nefarious deal," Obama said.


“It’s been interesting to watch this story surface,” the president said. “Some of you may recall, we announced these payments in January. Many months ago. There wasn’t a secret, we announced them to all of you.”


"What we have is the manufacturing of outrage on a story that we disclosed in January,” he added later.


"The notion that we would somehow start now in this high-profile way, and announce it to the world, even as we’re looking in the faces of other families whose loved ones are being held hostage and say to them, ‘we don’t pay ransom,’ defies logic," Obama said.

Defies logic indeed - because having slammed the press for suggesting this was a "ransom payment," we discover that is exactly what The Justice Department warned...

In his remarks, the president didn’t mention the objections raised by his own appointees within the Justice Department, where, according to people familiar with the discussions, many officials raised alarms that the timing of the cash payment would look like ransom. (via WSJ)

The head of the national security division at the Justice Department was among the agency’s senior officials who objected to paying Iran hundreds of millions of dollars in cash at the same time that Tehran was releasing American prisoners, according to people familiar with the discussions.


John Carlin, a Senate-confirmed administration appointee, raised concerns when the State Department notified Justice officials of its plan to deliver to Iran a planeful of cash, saying it would be viewed as a ransom payment, these people said. A number of other high-ranking Justice officials voiced similar concerns as the negotiations proceeded, they said.


The U.S. paid Iran $400 million in cash on Jan. 17 as part of a larger $1.7 billion settlement of a failed 1979 arms deal between the U.S. and Iran that was announced that day. Also on that day, Iran released four detained Americans in exchange for the U.S.’s releasing from prison—or dropping charges against—Iranians charged with violating sanctions laws. U.S. officials have said the swap was agreed upon in separate talks.


The objection of senior Justice Department officials was that Iranian officials were likely to view the $400 million payment as ransom, thereby undercutting a longstanding U.S. policy that the government doesn’t pay ransom for American hostages, these people said. The policy is based on a concern that paying ransom could encourage more Americans to become targets for hostage-takers.

Of course, the denials kept on coming from The White House. However, as The Wall Street Journal now reports, new details of the $400 million U.S. payment to Iran earlier this year depict a tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran, based on accounts from U.S. officials and others briefed on the operation...

U.S. officials wouldn't let Iranians take control of the money until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three freed Americans departed from Tehran on Jan. 17, the officials said.


Once that happened, an Iranian cargo plane was allowed to bring the cash back from a Geneva airport that day, according to the accounts.


President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have said the payment didn’t amount to ransom, because the money was owed by the U.S. to Iran as part of a longstanding dispute linked to a failed arms deal from the 1970s. U.S. officials have said that the prisoner release and cash transfer took place through two separate diplomatic channels.


But the handling of the payment and its connection to the release of the Americans have raised questions among lawmakers and administration critics.




One of the Americans released in January as part of the prisoner exchange, a Catholic pastor named Saeed Abedini, said he and other American prisoners were kept waiting at Mehrabad airport for more than 20 hours from Jan. 16 to the morning of Jan. 17.


He said in an interview that he was told by a senior Iranian intelligence official at the time that their departure was contingent upon the movements of a second airplane.

Just as Trump had suggested (before oddly retracting his suggestion), the exchange did take place and as the BBC reported. a video did indeed exist of the events, referring to a documentary called "The Rules of the Game" which was broadcast on Iranian state TV in February. In the clip, one can see shots of an airport are accompanied by commentary which references 17 January in Tehran's Mehrabad Airport.

Specifically, the video shows a loaded crate, partially blurred out, which allegedly shows the money in question.


And another version:

A translation of the commentary with the pictures, per BBC, reads as follows.

"Early hours of 17 January 2016, Mehrabad Airport (Tehran), $400m cash was transported to Iran by an airplane.


"A little bit later, part of the interest money was also paid to Iran, and the US government made a commitment to pay the rest of Iran's money."

While it is not clear if this is intended to be a literal description or whether the shots are just general views of the airport.

The video is shown below, and the pettets of cash appear at the 11:00 mark.

The video It can also be found on YouTube, and was also hosted and discussed by MEMRI tv at one point, and was also in a BBC Journalist twitter feed.  Here are the links to the short and the full version of the Iranian Documentary. Finally here is another version.

It is unclear where Donald Trump might have caught the clip of the video, and whether or not the cash disclosed is what Iran claims it is (in light of the WSJ revelations it is very likely that this is indeed the alleged payment in question) but the footage was widely discussed several months ago when the hostages were released.  The Iranian TV ran it with a title “The Rules of The Game." It was released on BBC TV during a segment discussing the release of the prisoners.

In other words, it did exist.  

*  *  *

So to summarize - Obama lied; the administration did indeed make a $400 million in exchange for the release of four hostages (if it walks like a ransom, and talks like a ransom, it is a ransom), and Trump was right.

Finally, this is far from over, as The Wall Street Journal concludes, Republican lawmakers have charged that the $400 million payment equated to a ransom paid by the White House to gain the release of the Americans.

Republican leaders said they are preparing to hold hearings on the $400 million transfer once Congress returns from its summer break in September. Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.), chairman of a House investigative body, sent letters to the Justice and Treasury Departments, as well as the Federal Reserve, on Aug. 10 requesting all records related to the Iran exchange.


Mr. Duffy asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch to identify all “persons within the Department authorizing or otherwise taking steps to carry out the payment.”

Obama administration officials have confirmed that they have paid the remaining $1.3 billion to Iran as part of the settlement reached in January on the failed arms deal. This marked the interest accrued over the past 37 years on the original $400 million paid by Iran. U.S. officials, however, have refused to disclose how the Obama administration made this additional payment. Lawmakers are seeking to determine whether this money was also paid in cash or if the Treasury Department was able to wire it electronically.

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Theta_Burn's picture

And the consequence will be?

anyone? anyone?

monad's picture

Hola Senor Obama. Geef uss 1 BILLION DOLLARSs eef you hevver wan to see dees nino Ryan hevver hagen.

Dutti's picture

Well, at least the Shia muslims are not as bad as the Sunnis.

Where is the muslim outrage in this case?


Oh. forgot this is muslimism at it's best...    /sarc

Looney's picture

Slightly OT…

Yesterday, ZH reported on Russian Strategic Bombers Striking ISIS From Iran's Hamadan Air Base

Today,  according to RT, Ankara could let Russia use its Incirlik airbase to fight ISIS – Turkish FM


Here’s the question – are we gonna leave Incirlik quietly and gracefully or will it turn into another Saigon Evacuation?  ;-)


N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Looney Aug 17, 2016 5:43 PM

Why can't we share it?  

We could use it on odd-days,  the commies on even-days.

TeamDepends's picture

Communists will lie even when the truth would do. It is in their nature.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) TeamDepends Aug 17, 2016 5:50 PM

You mean (by that) they'd try to use it on days we were supposed to use it?

If Trump is elected, he'll get with Putin and work out which days are best.

johngaltfla's picture

Well by golly we need to all get our pen and paper out and send a stern letter warning Obama to never do that again.

wee-weed up's picture

"Huh! I've told so many lies now, one more is not going to make any difference at all. My ass-kissing MSM certainly won't call me on it."     --Obozo

macholatte's picture


2 weeks ago
Phone rings ....
State Dude: Yo, Dude!
Justice Dude: Hey, Dude!
State Dude: What Up!!
Justice Dude: Hey man. Like, a , you know that 400 mil you guys are planning to pay Iran to get the hostages released.
State Dude: Yea.
Justice Dude: Well, like, you know that might not look too good.
State Dude: Yea. We know. Somebody asked Barry about it.
Justice Dude: Yea. What’d he say.
State Dude: Fuck Off!
Justice Dude: OK. Cool.
State Dude: Later Dude
Justice Dude: Later


Phone rings ....
State Dude: Yo, Dude!
Justice Dude: Hey, Dude!
State Dude: What Up!!
Justice Dude: Hey man. Like, a , you know that 400 mil you guys paid Iran to get the hostages released.
State Dude: Yea.
Justice Dude: Well, like, you know everybody knows it was ransom. Like W T F man.
State Dude: Yea. We know. Somebody asked Barry about it.
Justice Dude: Yea. What’d he say this time.
State Dude: Fuck Off!
Justice Dude: OK. Cool.
State Dude: Later Dude
Justice Dude: Later

gargoylian's picture
gargoylian (not verified) macholatte Aug 17, 2016 7:21 PM

No official was NAMED. MEANING all BS. All to tarnish Obama's accomplishment in making peace and refusing to bomb IRAN like Israel wanted. https://goo.gl/7vUdsL

lakecity55's picture

"If the winds shift against the Muslims, I'll have Malia don a suicide vest."

jcaz's picture

Let's skip the impeachment and go straight to the lynching.....

californiagirl's picture

Aside form the ransom issue, this stinks to high heaven because it is cash.  They can avoid depositing the money into any kind of banking system and create easily fictitious records.  There will be zero accountability and traceability, which is exactly the intent.  There is only one reason for paying cash - the transaction and intended use of the money is nefarious and Obama knows it!


And stating that we don't have a banking relationship with Iran so we cannot wire the money is nothing but utter B.S!  Of course we can wire the money through an intermediary, if necessary.  I am sure BCCI replacement, HSBC, would be happy to handle it for the Whitehouse.

Archibald Buttle's picture

good thing for the hostages cash hasn't, yet, been banned.

indygo55's picture

I thought cash was only used by criminals?


peddling-fiction's picture

Obama lied is like saying the sun came up.

ACES FULL's picture

The SOB has never told the truth about anything,why start now.

John_Coltrane's picture

Yes, that's what I was thinking while reading the "surprising" headline.  Now a real "surprising" headline would be:

"Obama tells truth, admits he's an gay fudgepacker married to a tranny with fake children and hates America and wishes to destroy it via executive order."

I won't hold my breath waiting for that one.

TeamDepends's picture

Oh noes, we've offended some commies! Cryin' shame, that.

Troy Ounce's picture



If the coming WW3 was only about "freedom lovers" against "commies". I would fight on the side of "freedom lovers"!

But reality will be different.

It will be a false flag operation by NATO/EU with an atomic bomb in the Ukraine, blamed on Russia. Shock/awe.Young people will be enlisted to fight against Russia by their own European country but under guidance of the EU/NATO. This "to defend our freedom".

There will be a suspension of the coming elections in France and Germany as well as the democratic process. After 10 nuclear bombs the EU/NATO will establish itself as the only true legitimate entity to defend the European people.

The elites are now firmly in charge, vested interests have been saved and the sheeple will be in disarray for a long time.

Costs: a few million people. But hey, look what you get in return! /s


IndyPat's picture

Snake Plisken will stop the false flag.

Here2Go's picture
Here2Go (not verified) IndyPat Aug 18, 2016 1:12 AM

I thought he was dead

HopefulCynic's picture

Most Europeans will not go to war with Russia, no matter how much pressure they receive from the US or the elites. They will want the war to reach US continetnal shores first before even thinking of using their lands as battle grounds. 

HopefulCynic's picture

Most Europeans will not go to war with Russia, no matter how much pressure they receive from the US or the elites. They will want the war to reach US continetnal shores first before even thinking of using their lands as battle grounds. 

Doubleguns's picture

"...before even thinking of using their lands as battle grounds." 


It is already a battle ground. They just are not fighting back. Bombings, killings, trucks running folks down, axes, knives and torture, you name it has been deployed against them. Yet they sit there. 



imbrbing's picture

No, your thinking of mooslims

old naughty's picture

he lied, again?

but he's the (third-term) king, no-no?

damn funny...

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) ghengis86 Aug 17, 2016 5:50 PM

Jeezzzz,  that's gonna mess-up some flight-plans.

11b40's picture

What commies are you talking about?  Russia has not been Communist since 1989......while the U.S. seems to be headed that way.

lakecity55's picture

The only commies there are wearing a US Fag, uhh, Flag.

Lumberjack's picture

Um, we flew through communism and are now in the corporatism phase.

lasvegaspersona's picture

That would give Obama use every day...when would the Ruskies get to use it?

de3de8's picture

Just think of the competition between pilots this would ferment. ISIS gone in no time!

Peak Bull's picture

Which side are the commies again?

HRH of Aquitaine's picture
HRH of Aquitaine (not verified) Looney Aug 17, 2016 5:54 PM

I fail to understand why the US is still at that base.

steelhead23's picture

Me either.  I see a simple solution to the escalating tension between the U.S. and Russia - give them Turkey.  I am old enough to remember that way back when Egypt, under Nassar, was allied with the USSR, much like Syria.  In large measure, this alliance pushed the U.S. to arm Israel to the teeth, which led to fears in Riyadh, which eventually led to the U.S. arming SA to the teeth.  Perhaps it would be better if the U.S. stopped playing on that side of the global chessboard and let Russia manage the mess.  This is not sarc. 

peddling-fiction's picture

I fail to understand why the nukes are still there.

Does not treason make some decision makers wince a bit?

Things that go bump's picture

Because we are not in a position to retrieve them.

l8apex's picture

You do realize that the "mess" is all by design, don't you?  Otherwise, how will the MIC keep paying big bucks to their executives?  Those execs need the bucks to grease everybody in Congress and the WH.  

Archibald Buttle's picture

this is all a clever marketing plan. people are starting to question the "usefulness" of aircraft carriers, and all the requisite stuff that comes with maintaining one. joe taxpayer may at some point buy into the argument, if by some 'unfortunate' chance he ever becomes aware of it, and think: "since we already have this plethora of military bases, does my tax dollar have to go for another expensive, and potentially obsolete, weapon system?" well here's your answer joe t. "we need more aircraft carrier task groups to replace those bases, because you saw what happened when the terrorists got their hands on a bunch of our nukes..."

Never One Roach's picture
Why Are Parents Of Color And The Poor Expected To Keep Sacrificing Their Kids Wellbeing In Unjust Schools




HuffPo outdoes itself!

Oldwood's picture

Blacks are incapable of looking at ANYTHING outside of race. Progressives have programmed them well.

Archibald Buttle's picture

i can't find the exact quote, but i remember some years ago a football player had just signed a multi-million $ deal, and subsequently gotten caught up in politics. he said something along the lines of (and this is very loosely paraphrased): "yeah, but once you start paying those kind of taxes, the republicans make sense." wish i could find the original story...

fishpoem's picture

Publishing the ramblings of a whitey-blaming knucklehead will do nothing to make black lives matter. The ultra-liberal excuse industry hides actual cause-and-effect inside a fog of false attribution. The lady who wrote that article needs to pay attention to folks from Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, and other Asian cultures. Dirt poor when they arrived in the US, lived in the middle of black ghettoes, and yet later attended graduation ceremonies for their kids at the likes of Harvard, Yale, and Cal Tech. Don't think that any of them would attribute their success to whitey...other than perhaps realizing that it was Euro-American culture that, by building high quality higher education, opened the door to success.

Things that go bump's picture

Asian parents treat public education like a gift from God. Woe unto the child who doesn't get with the program.