London, 26 Sep – A member of the United States House of Representatives has written an op-ed for Yellow Hammer, pleading for the US to no longer provide ransom to terrorists, specifically, the Iranian Regime.
Bradley Byrne, who represents Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, quoted a speech by Obama in June 2015 which reinforced the US’s commitment to not making concessions to terrorists.
However, in January 2016, the US paid $400 million to Iran in order to have release American hostages. It was revealed that, in total, the US paid Iran $1.7 billion, dressed up as an arms sale. Iranian officials have, in fact, claimed that it was a hostage negotiation payment.
Byrne said: “By giving money to Iran, the United States is supporting the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran has a clear track record of supporting terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran is clearly no friend of the United States or our allies.”
He also raises a concern about providing the payment in cash- which is harder to track once out of American hands- given Iran’s support of terrorism and history of money laundering.
Byrne said: “Given all of these concerns, I am pleased to report that last week the House of Representatives passed a bill with bipartisan support that would prohibit any future ransom payments to Iran… [by providing Congress with] an opportunity to review any future payments.”
He said: “Ultimately, we need to stop empowering Iran and instead start weakening them. By putting our foot down, the American people and our allies in the Middle East will be safer and stronger.”