Portman Statement on the Administration's Ransom Payment to Iran

August 18, 2016 | Press Releases

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement after a new report detailed yet another Obama administration concession to Iran, when it negotiated a “tightly scripted exchange” in January that involved a $400 million cash payment – in addition to the release of seven Iranian prisoners in the U.S. – to free three American hostages:

“This report underscores a long pattern of troubling concessions made to Iran by the Obama administration that have yet to yield any meaningful shift in Iran’s dangerous and destabilizing behavior such as its support for terrorism, human rights violations, and active hostility to U.S. allies and interests. The Iran deal won’t dismantle the country’s nuclear program, and instead of shutting down its ballistic missile program, as the Obama administration promised it would, it lifts the arms and missile embargoes in a matter of years – even as Iran continues to conduct illicit ballistic missile tests.  

“In addition to rewarding Iran with tens of billions in sanctions relief, it’s now clear that this administration made ransom payments to Iran in order to free several hostages, demonstrating to the world that taking American hostages can be a lucrative business. While the administration presses forward with these concessions, Iran continues to arrest and detain U.S. citizens. Sadly, it appears that the Obama administration is once again putting the interests of Iran, the world’s chief state sponsor of terror according to the State Department, ahead of the national security interests of the American people.”

NOTE: Senior Justice Department officials objected to the ransom payments made by the Obama administration.  The Iran deal, according to Gallup, remains highly unpopular with the American people.  Senator Portman has made clear, forcefully, that the Iran deal is a bad deal for America, that it will undermine our national security and make Americans less safe.  Read Senator Portman’s op-ed on why he opposed the Iran deal in the Cleveland Plain Dealer here.