Iran Still Kidnapping US Citizens, Wants Billions in Ransom
Iran wants “many billions of dollars” from the United States for the release of multiple American hostage, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
According to the Beacon, senior officials in the Iranian government have been considering requesting payment for months. Earlier this year, the White House paid $1.7 billion to Iran, $400 million of which was given over on the same day that Iran released four American prisoners, according to the Los Angeles Times.
President Barack Obama’s administration denied that the money was a ransom, claiming that it was the settlement of a decades-old legal claim between the U.S. and Iran, but admitted that the transaction was delayed to pressure Iran into releasing the captives.
The rest of the $1.3 million is said to be interest on Iranian money held in America since the 70’s.
“We’re currently conducting conversations and various dialogues in order to return this money to Iran,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said onNBC News in September.
“Perhaps these dialogues can be still conducted simultaneously on parallel tracks while we’re conducting those same conversations in order to free the sums of money that are still owed to us.”
Iranian news sources, including Mashregh News, which is closely tied to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC), also known as the Revolutionary Guard, report that Iran “should wait and see, the U.S. will offer … many billions of dollars to release” Siamak Namazi, an American businessman, and his father Baquer, according to the Beacon.
“I am saddened to learn of the sentencing of Baquer Namazi and his son Siamak by Iran this week,” Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told the Beacon. Kirk chairs the Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, and supervises the government’s sanctions policy on Iran.
“After airlifting $1.7 billion in cash ransom payments to Iran,” Kirk continued. “Even the U.S. State Department now warns of increased dangers that the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism will continue to illegally seize Americans and Westerners who travel or do business with Iran. Companies, banks, and American citizens would be wise to stay away from Iran.”