Ron called out President Obama’s $400M payment to Iran saying, “The Obama administration entered into the disastrous Iran nuclear agreement hoping to modify Iran’s behavior for the better. The exact opposite has occurred. Now we know that $400 million in foreign cash was delivered to coincide with the release of the hostages Iran was illegally holding.” Senator Feingold stayed silent.
MADISON, Wis. – Here’s what Wisconsin’s U.S. senators had to say Wednesday about reports the Obama administration secretly sent a plane loaded with $400 million in cash to Iran – the same day Iran set free four American prisoners who were illegally detained.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh:
“The Obama administration entered into the disastrous Iran nuclear agreement hoping to modify Iran’s behavior for the better. The exact opposite has occurred. Now we know that $400 million in foreign cash was delivered to coincide with the release of the hostages Iran was illegally holding.
“The reason the United States has had a policy of not paying ransom for the release of hostages is that doing so encourages the taking of more hostages. It appears Iran is doing exactly that.”
U.S. Sen Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison:
There also was silence from Johnson’s challenger, former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Middleton.
President Barack Obama signed off on the $400 million payment, something he announced in January with the Iran nuclear deal. It’s the down payment on a $1.7 billion settlement resolving Iran’s claims of a failed arms deal dating back to the regime of the Shah of Iran.
The White House denied accusations by Republicans that the $400 million payment made in January was a “ransom” for the release of the hostages.
“As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim at the Hague Tribunal were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of the Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years.”
But the timing seems more than coincidence, Republicans contend.
Baldwin voted for the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal, saying it “will best serve America’s national security interests.”
Feingold called the agreement one of the “great things” Obama has done.
In an email to reporters, Johnson campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger said it’s “fair to ask if the bundled lobbyist contributions Feingold took from the pro-Iran deal group J Street have anything to do with his blind support for the president’s reckless approach to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”
Reisinger noted Feingold’s bundled lobbyist contributions now top $500,000, after “years of railing against the influence of lobbyists.”