Nebraska’s United States Senators question the timing of a big payment to Iran at the moment four American hostages were released by Iran and the ramification of the action.
Iran released four American hostages at about the same time America released $400 million dollars in Iranian assets frozen since the 1979 revolution.
“But it’s a little too coincidental when you have hostages released at the same time a payment is made,” Sen. Deb Fischer tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Fischer says perception is as important as reality in these cases.
Sen. Ben Sasse says it doesn’t look good.
“There’s a lot more we need to know, but it certainly looks like ransom right now,” Sasse tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Sasse notes the US has a long-standing policy not to pay ransom for hostages.
“If we send a signal to the world that if you come and you take a free person, the United States will come and bail that situation out, you create a market for more hostages in the future,” according to Sasse.
Sasse contends the Department of Justice objected to the transfer, but was overruled by the State Department.
Iran released the four American hostages in January, but the timing of the release and the transfer of $400 million in cash loaded on a plane flown to Tehran only now has come out with an article published this week by the Wall Street Journal.
Iran deposited the money with the United States in 1979 to pay for U.S. military equipment. Then, the 1979 revolution forever changed the relationship between Iran and the United States. The U.S., under President Jimmy Carter, froze Iranian assets. It never delivered the military equipment.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]