WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — Exactly how much money did the U.S. give Iran to secure last summer’s nuclear agreement between that state sponsor of terrorism and the White House?
According to an expert who testified before congress recently, possibly more than the American public was led to believe.
A House committee recently discovered Iran may have received nearly $34 billion dollars in additional cash and precious metals between 2014 and this year to secure the controversial U.S. / Iran nuclear deal. Now, some lawmakers want to know exactly how much this deal cost.
“Disgraceful conduct on the part of this president,” said Senator John McCain (D) AZ. “There are provisions in this agreement that we still haven’t seen yet and it’s disgraceful.”
The Associated Press reports Iran brought home roughly $20 billion dollars from this deal. But nearly $12 billion dollars in previously frozen U.S. sanctions were given to Tehran as nuclear talks progressed. Add to that the $1.7-billion-dollar cash payout the White House gave Tehran before the release of several U.S. hostages this year and the sum total soars to nearly $34 billion dollars.
Here’s the rub. It’s still unknown whether that $11.9 or $1.7 billion are part of the original $20 billion dollars paid out to Iran or if it’s in addition to the $20-billion. Experts say the worst case scenario is that Iran may have received nearly $34 billion dollars in cash, gold and other precious metals from the U.S. to close this deal.
“Of course this is ransom,” McCain added.
Some lawmakers are calling for a censure of the president because in their words, the White House wasn’t forthcoming about how and exactly how much Iran was paid. But one lawmaker we talked to says this is nothing but a political witch-hunt.
“Some in the house want to spend tens of millions even hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money to make political statements,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D) VT. “It does nothing to help the country.”
Still, some lawmakers are concerned about how Iran is spending the money.
“So every dollar that goes to Iran you have to assume is going to go to Hezbollah,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R) FL. “Or it’s going to go to their missile program, or their nuclear ambition or their military.”
Unlike digital transfers of money, cash is untraceable. Some experts say we likely will never know how Iran will take advantage of this windfall.