Does Bennet oppose Iran ransom payments and blindly funding the largest state sponsor of terror?
White House threatens to veto two Iran-related bills after Iran receives billions in cash
DENVER—Yesterday, the White House threatened to veto two bills related to the Iran-related national security bills citing the “perception” that their passage could negatively impact the Iran deal. One bill, the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, would have required the U.S. government to publicly detail how Iran’s leadership acquires and uses its assets. The second bill, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, seeks to prohibit the type of cash transfer to Iran that caused widespread outrage in recent weeks.
Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:
“The White House continues to appease Iran instead of standing with the American people on national security, and Sen. Michael Bennet claims he doesn’t trust Iran but has been practically silent on this issue. Bennet supported the Iran deal and should be calling on the president to withdraw his veto threats on these bills and help take steps to prevent any future ransom payments. Iran is the leading state sponsor of terror and our hard-earned money is apparently being dropped off in different currencies in cash and gold to this terror regime. Coloradans oppose this type of militant support for the Iran deal and Bennet has the ability to enact common-sense measures to protect us, the questions is: will he?”
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said in an “interview” with the Denver Post when asked about the ransom payment:
“Sure, it’s the policy of the United States that we should not pay ransom for hostages and for good reason — and that should be our policy.
The timing obviously raises concerns, but I want to hear directly from the administration before I (comment).
I don’t have any reason to know that right now. And nor do you. I think we need to find out what the facts are.”
Shortly thereafter Bennet was quoted in the Denver Post saying he had been briefed on the ransom payment in a classified setting.
Bennet prompted a few double-takes by saying that he believes the one-year-old Iran nuclear deal is “going well.”
“I think the deal is going well, so far. Obviously, we have to be vigilant.”
Critics cited recent examples, in their response, of aggression by Iran against the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf as well as the Obama administration’s $400 million payment to Iran.
Bennet argued that Iran’s reputation came as a reason to strike the deal: “I don’t trust Iran. That’s the point.”
Lawmakers raised concerns about the administration’s $400 million cash payment to Iran in January, calling it a ransom payment to secure the release of U.S. prisoners. The White House has said the payment was the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement of a decades-old arms deal. However, Iran may have received an additional $33.6 billion in secret cash and gold paymentsfacilitated by the Obama administration between 2014 and 2016.
The Obama administration castigated the second bill as an “an ill-advised attempt to respond to a problem – so-called ‘ransom’ payments to Iran – that does not exist, in a way that would undermine U.S. obligations and ultimately benefit Iran at the expense of the United States.”
“This bill’s required public postings also may be perceived by Iran and likely our Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) partners as an attempt to undermine the fulfilment of our commitments, in turn impacting the continued viability of this diplomatic arrangement that peacefully and verifiably prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” a statement from the White House read.
The full White House statement can be read here.
The veto threat comes after the US government began granting licenses to Airbus on Wednesdayto allow the company to begin selling its planes to Iran despite objections by members of Congress.