The Obama administration secretly flew $400 million packed inside wooden pallets to Iran at the same time four American hostages were released from Tehran. If that isn’t ransom, what is? But the White House insists it’s just a coincidence.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the money inside the pallets consisted of euros, Swiss francs and other foreign currencies. The pallets arrived in Tehran on January 17. On that same day, four US citizens were released in exchange for seven Iranians held in the United States. President Barack Obama failed to make any mention of the $400 million when he announced the prisoner exchange. And that’s because the Obama administration is claiming the $400 million was part of a $1.7 billion settlement to resolve a failed 1979 arms deal. The Obama administration has refused to say how the $1.7 billion was paid.

Local Iranian press reports quoted Iranian defense officials describing the money as a ransom payment, and stating the $400 million was paid in foreign currency because a transaction such as this one is illegal in the U.S.

America does not negotiate with terrorists. Thus, critics are concerned the money could be used to fund terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. It also encourages the Iranians, and other bad actors, to snatch American prisoners believing they will be paid ransom at some point down the line.

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