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The Iran Threat

Iran Seizes Another US Hostage Under Color of Law

How much will the ransom be this time?

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | September 20, 2016

An American permanent resident with ties to Lebanon has been sentenced to ten years in prison by a secret Iranian tribunal.  Nizar Zakka’s prison sentence follows a decision by the Obama administration to pay ransoms for hostages.  His sentence is well timed to provide Iranian diplomats with an opportunity to negotiate another ransom, as it comes just before a major gathering at the United Nations:

The sentence for Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizen who advocates for internet freedom and whose nonprofit group did work for the U.S. government, comes ahead of Iranian officials attending the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York….

“There’s no regard for any international order, any international agreement or any international state of relations that they care about,” said David Ramadan, a former Virginia state legislator who co-founded a group called Friends of Nizar Zakka.

A statement early Tuesday from Jason Poblete, a U.S. lawyer representing Zakka, said a Revolutionary Court in Tehran handed down the sentence in a 60-page verdict that Zakka’s supporters have yet to see. Amnesty International has said Zakka had only two court hearings before the ruling and received only limited legal assistance before the court, a closed-door tribunal which handles cases involving alleged attempts to overthrow the government.

 

Iran’s use of the color of law to hide its abuses of human rights is a leading feature of the regime.  Exactly like the Jim Crow state administrations, the regime in Iran pretends to be enforcing ordinary laws — often narcotics laws, but also often political laws.  Those deemed in need of suppression by the regime are subject to false arrest, “trials” barely worthy of the name, and sentences so harsh as to serve as a warning to others rather than as an attempt at actual justice.

The Iranian regime is even more motivated to arrest Americans and those with strong American ties in the wake of the Obama administrations recent payment of giant pallets of untraceable cash as ransom for such hostages.  The administration’s claims that the payments were not ransoms were barely credible to begin with, but have been completely undermined since.  As Omri Ceren, a managing director at The Israel Project, noted in a factsheet distributed to journalists and others, the Obama administration used wire transfers to Iran both before and after the hostage payoff.

Administration officials explaining that wire transfers to Iran are impossible

President Obama, Aug 4 [c]The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran that we couldn’t send them a check and we could not wire the money.

Toner/State Dept, Aug 3 [d]Iran was at that time, and frankly still is to some degree, relatively disconnected from the international financial system… It couldn’t be done over wire transfers… We don’t have – we’ve never re-established a direct banking relationship with Iran.

Earnest/WH, Aug 3 [e] [T]he United States does not have a banking relationship with Iran… the Obama administration — has kept in place tough financial sanctions… So the facts of this are quite clear… it’s an indication of just how badly opponents of the Iran deal are struggling to justify their opposition.

Think tankers and journalists detailing wire transfers to Iran

Jenna Lifhits/TWS, Sept 16 — Roughly $10 million, in April 2016, for nuclear material, that was definitely wired [g] — The Obama administration used a bank to pay for a multi-million dollar purchase of nuclear-related material from Iran, undermining the government’s claim that an unrelated $1.7 billion payment to the Islamic Republic had to be made in cash, according to a top lawmaker and congressional sources who spoke to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

Mark Dubowitz/FDD, Sept 8 — $848,072 in July 2015, for a settlement, that may have been wired [f]The U.S. paid Iran $848,072.15 on July 27, 2015 as the result of a Tribunal ruling. Was this made in cash as well? Conversely, if the $848,000 was sent to Iran using the formal financial system, why did the administration send the $1.7 billion in cash?

The President’s claim that the transfer of massive quantities of cash was necessary because wire transfers were illegal is thus shown to be a transparent falsehood.  If the wire transfers were illegal, the administration broke the law repeatedly.  If not, then the cash payoff was not necessary except because of the terms of the ransom.

Iran has been greatly emboldened by the ransom payments, as it has by other signs of weakness from the administration.  In addition to the seizing of several new American hostages, Iran has upped its aggressive acts toward the US Navy in the gulf alternatively labeled “Persian” or “Arabian.”  As Rudyard Kipling warned us, once you pay the Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane.