The President’s Non-Ransom to Iran

The President’s Non-Ransom to Iran

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Source: The Wall Street Journal (The President’s Non-Ransom to Iran)

Obama chooses to believe in a world that doesn’t exist.

President Obama often seems to reside in his own private Idaho on foreign affairs. So it was no surprise that at his Pentagon press conference Thursday he forcefully denied that his Administration had paid $400 million in cash as ransom in January for the return of five Americans in Iran.

“We do not pay ransom for hostages,” he said. “We didn’t here, and we won’t in the future, precisely because if we did we’d start encouraging Americans to be targeted.”

He’s right that paying ransom for hostages encourages more hostage-taking, which is why U.S. policy has long opposed doing it. And Mr. Obama, with his talent for imagining a world that he would like to exist, may even believe that Iran released the Americans for reasons other than the pallets of cash the U.S. delivered. He said Thursday that the U.S. had disclosed the payments at the time, and that the foreign currencies were used to avoid violating U.S. sanctions law.

But the hard reality of geopolitics is about more than what a U.S. President chooses to believe. And if Mr. Obama is right that he paid no ransom, then how does he explain that Iran has taken three more Americans as hostages since those January payments? An unhappy coincidence?

What matters to American credibility is what the mullahs of Iran believe. And it’s obvious they believe that arresting and holding Americans in Iran is a useful way to extract money and other concessions from the United States. Their latest demand is for the U.S. to hand over $2 billion in Iranian funds that have been frozen for the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. The thugs of the world don’t care what Mr. Obama believes. They care only that he shows them the money—then they’ll release their hostages.

The President’s Non-Ransom to Iran

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