|Bennet defends Iran deal, says he’s clueless about $400 million ransom
Despite mountains of bad news including State Dept travel warnings, more details on ransom payments, elevated Iranian naval aggression & Iran expanding terror network in Latin America
DENVER—This week, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet sat down with the Denver Post to discuss the Iran deal to defend his vote for the deal and to give non-answers about the pressing concerns in wake of ransoms, hostages, and increased Iranian aggression.
Advancing Colorado last year launched an explosive ad campaign on NBC, CBS and ABC and on digital, criticizing the Iran deal last year making headlines from Israel to New Zealand in over 150 publications. The Denver Post wrote a derogatory editorial piece calling Advancing Colorado’s executive director “deranged” for the ad and adamantly defended Bennet’s support for the deal promising it would make the world more peaceful. Advancing Colorado’s response to their piece can be read here.
Advancing Colorado Executive Director and Spokesman Jonathan Lockwood, called Bennet “willfully blinded” and released the following statement:
“Bennet is willfully blinded to the aggression of the Iranian regime and failed to give any clear answers about critical issues following the passage of the deal. Iran can do absolutely nothing to make Bennet scale back his defense of the deal. This so-called Iran ‘deal’ was essentially Iran’s Terror Stimulus Package and Bennet proudly slapped down his stamp of approval. Americans were happy to see what looked like initially some progress could be possible with Iran, but the evidence is overwhelmingly mounting that the Iran deal was a restraining bag, and it has made the world less safe.”
It has been revealed that the $400 million in cash ransom payment the Obama Administration for Iranian-held American hostages was just the down payment. The Obama Administration gave the Iranians an additional $1.3 billion. On Jan. 17, the administration paid Iran the account’s $400 million principal in pallets of euros, Swiss francs and other foreign currency raising concerns among the American people. The $1.3 billion covers what Iran and the U.S. agreed would be the interest on the $400 million over the decades.
State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau declined to explain more about the Jan. 19 payments because of “diplomatic sensitivities.” The payments involved 13 separate payments of $99,999,999.99 and one final payment of about $10 million. According to CBS, there was no explanation for the Treasury Department keeping the individual transactions under $100 million, but it has been suggested they did this to avoid detection.
Despite Bennet’s claims that the Iran deal has made the United States and our allies safer, Iranian naval vessels have continued their pattern of aggression with their latest attempts to harass a U.S. warship on Tuesday near the Strait of Hormuz.
Four of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) vessels threatened the U.S. warship, a U.S. defense official said, amid Washington’s concerns about Iran’s posture in the Gulf and in the Syrian civil war.
The defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to Reuters, said that two of the Iranian vessels came within 300 yards of the USS Nitze in an incident that was “unsafe and unprofessional.”
The Iranian vessels harassed the U.S. ship by “conducting a high speed intercept and closing within a short distance of Nitze, despite repeated warnings,” the official told Reuters.
And piling up on the more bad news, this week the State Department issued an updated warning for Americans traveling to Iran:
“The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Iran. This replaces the Travel Warning for Iran dated March 14, 2016, to reiterate and highlight the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens…”
The warning was distributed in reaction to the continued capturing of many Western citizens in Iran in the recent few months.
‘Iranian authorities have detained and harassed U.S. citizens, particularly those of Iranian origin,’ the travel alert said. ‘Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, religious activists, and persons who encourage Muslims to convert are subject to arrest and prosecution.’
The warning especially warned ‘students, journalists, business travelers and academics’ that they are prime targets for Iran’s bogus spying charges.
Iran is expanding their terror network in Latin America in an effort to recruit terrorists closer to U.S. soil. One senior congressional source who works on the issue said to the Washington Free Beacon that Iran is seeking to recruit “potential terrorists who want to cause the U.S. harm.” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been on a tour through key Latin American countries known for hostility toward the United States, including Cuba, Venezuela, and a litany of other countries believed to be providing a home to Iranian terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah.
Increased ties between Iran and these Latin American nations are setting the stage for terrorists to penetrate close to U.S. soil with little detection.
Despite all of this horrific news, just this week, Bennet told the Denver Post:
“I think the deal is going well, so far. Obviously, we have to be vigilant. … Some people say, ‘Well, how can you trust Iran and do a deal with Iran?’ The whole point is that I don’t trust Iran. I don’t trust Iran. That’s the point.”
The post asked Bennet:
“What do you think of the administration’s move to delay the $400 million payment until the hostages were released?
Bennet: I want to hear direction from the administration about that.
Post: You haven’t yet?
Bennet: No. As soon as I get back in September, I want to get briefed on that. And then I’d be happy to answer the question.”