Trump: We didn’t pay for release of prisoners from North Korea

President Trump on Thursday evening touted the release of three Americans prisoners from North Korea who arrived home this week, noting that the U.S. did not pay for their release.

“[North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un did a great service to himself and to his country by doing this. But those hostages came out, with respect, we didn’t pay for them,” Trump said during a rally in Elkhart, Ind.

“What he did was the right thing, but they came out for nothing and the others came out for $1.8 billion in cash,” Trump added.

Trump appeared to be referring to a January 2016 deal in which the Obama administration agreed to pay Iran $1.7 billion to settle a case related to the sale of military equipment before the Iranian revolution.

The payment coincided with the release of five imprisoned American citizens who were released in exchange for seven Iranians detained in the U.S.

The White House at the time disputed that it was a ransom payment.

Trump early Thursday morning greeted the three Americans who were freed from captivity in North Korea earlier this week. He has touted their release as an act of good will by Kim ahead of a planned summit between the two leaders on June 12 in Singapore.

“The relationship is good, and hopefully, I mean for all of us, for the world, hopefully something very good is going to happen,” Trump said at Thursday’s rally.

[The Hill]

Reality

In 1979, Iran’s then-monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi paid $400 million to the United States government to purchase military parts. But that year’s revolution toppled the shah, and the military parts were never delivered.

To regain its funds, Iran filed a claim against the United States in 1981 in the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, which adjudicates disputes between the two nations. The body, located at the Hague, was established amid negotiations to end the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis, in which pro-revolution students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

The $1.7 billion dollars Trump mentioned was a settlement of claims, and was announced by the State Department months before Iranian detainees were transferred back home to America.

Media

Trump calls for DOJ to investigate Obama over Iran

President Donald Trump was up early Sunday morning, tweeting that he can’t understand why former President Barack Obama was not investigated for the Iran deal before then launching an attack on House intel member Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Hours after undermining his own National Security Adviser on Twitter, Trump went after Obama.

“Never gotten over the fact that Obama was able to send $1.7 Billion Dollars in CASH to Iran and nobody in Congress, the FBI or Justice called for an investigation!” Trump wrote.

You can see the tweets below:

[Raw Story]

Reality

In 1979, Iran’s then-monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi paid $400 million to the United States government to purchase military parts. But that year’s revolution toppled the shah, and the military parts were never delivered.

To regain its funds, Iran filed a claim against the United States in 1981 in the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, which adjudicates disputes between the two nations. The body, located at the Hague, was established amid negotiations to end the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis, in which pro-revolution students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Donald Trump Claims He Watched a Nonexistent Recording of Iranian Money Transfer

As Fox News reported on the controversial transfer of $400 million in cash to Iran in January, it repeatedly played dark, grainy footage of shadowy figures walking off a small private plane with bags in hand. The video is often labeled as being from Jan. 17 in Geneva where three Americans first landed after being released from prison in Tehran.

Republican nominee Donald Trump watched this sort of footage, according to his spokeswoman, and concluded that it showed the controversial money transfer that was described in detail for the first time this week by the Wall Street Journal. At a rally in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon, Trump announced that the months-old video had been recorded by the Iranian government and released to embarrass the United States.

“Remember this: Iran — I don’t think you heard this anywhere but here — Iran provided all of that footage, the tape of taking that money off the airplane,” Trump said at the rally. “Right?”

Trump provided no source for this exclusive information but described in detail what he saw in the video.

“Now, here’s the amazing thing: Over there, where that plane landed, top secret, you don’t have a lot of paparazzi. You know, the paparazzi doesn’t do so well over there, right?” Trump said, seeming to refer to Iran and not Switzerland, where the footage was recorded. “And they have a perfect tape, done by obviously a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane. Right? That means that in order to embarrass us further, Iran sent us the tapes. Right? It’s a military tape; it’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady, nobody getting nervous because they’re gonna be shot because they’re shooting a picture of money pouring off a plane.”

Twitter quickly filled with confusion and this central question: What is Trump talking about?

Several senior U.S. officials involved in the Iran negotiations told the Associated Press on Wednesday they weren’t aware of any such footage. There was speculation that perhaps Trump saw the footage during one of the classified security briefings provided to presidential nominees, but Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort said in an interview on Fox News earlier in the day that those briefings have not yet begun.

The Washington Post asked Trump’s staff to explain what Trump was talking about and emailed a link to a Fox News clip that showed the January footage from Geneva, asking if that was the video the nominee saw.

“Yes,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded in an email. “Merely the b-roll footage included in every broadcast.”

(h/t Washington Post)

Reality

Donald Trump later repeated this false claim at another rally in Portland, Maine. Then after being corrected by about every news agency Trump admitted his error in an early-morning tweet Friday, without actually saying he was wrong.

There was nothing secret or clandestine about the $400 transfer of cash to Iran as it was made public early this year.

The $400 million payment — part of an overall $1.7 billion settlement of claims — was announced by the State Department on Jan. 17, the same day that President Obama announced the release of the detainees.

The U.S. had no way to directly deliver cold hard currency to Iran. Rather, the pallets traveled to Switzerland and the money was eventually transferred to Iran.

Media

Trump’s False Claim That Clinton ‘Started the Talks’ to Give $400 Million to Iran

The GOP presidential nominee jumped on an interesting report in the Wall Street Journal that the Obama administration shipped $400 million in cash to Iran at about the same time that four Americans being held in Iran were released after negotiations.

(h/t Washington Post)

Reality

Trump is simply wrong that Clinton started the talks that led to the release of $400 million to Iran. She initiated the talks on Iran’s nuclear program, but that’s as far as her involvement goes. Iran’s claim for the $400 million was made long before Clinton took office — and was resolved after she left.

Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in early 2013. The deal involving the American detainees — including The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian — was announced in January this year, three years after the end of her tenure. Clinton did initiate negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program — though substantial talks with Iran did not take place until after she left.

But Clinton had nothing to do with talks on the detainees. Those occurred on a separate track, which U.S. officials said was necessary to not raise the price to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The $400 million payment — part of an overall $1.7 billion settlement of claims — was also announced by the State Department on Jan. 17, the same day that President Obama announced the release of the detainees. (He also made reference to a settlement of claims without mentioning a dollar figure.)

Trump Misstates Part of the Iran Deal

In criticizing the Iran deal as one of the “worst contracts” he would have to inherit as president, Trump has also incorrectly said that the agreement includes a stipulation that the United States would have to fight Israel in defense of the Iranians.

But there is a clause in there that people are not even talking about that we’re supposed to essentially come to their defense, the Iranian’s defense, and if Israel attacks, you know, where are we? Well, believe me, that will never happen. But how do they agree to things like this? We have a horrible contract. But we do have a contract.

Reality

The State Department disputed Trump’s characterization of the deal’s Section 10 of Annex III.

“This provision of the [agreement] is designed to help bring Iran’s nuclear security and safety practices in line with those used by other nuclear programs around the world,” said Marie Harf, Secretary of State John Kerry’s senior communications adviser, during a CNN fact check.

“The IAEA provides this kind of training routinely, as it is in the interest of all countries that nuclear material be safeguarded from theft and terrorist attacks — the types of ‘sabotage’ in question. This would be the focus of any such assistance by the P5+1 or other states,” she noted. “Nevertheless, this provision does not commit any country to engage in this kind of routine nuclear security cooperation, and it is absurd to suggest it [commits] anyone to ‘defend’ Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Links

http://www.politico.eu/article/donald-trumps-11-worst-foreign-policy-gaffes-us-election-syria-mexico-iraq/

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/09/04/donald_trump_slams_third_rate_radio_announcer_hugh_hewitt_after_bombing_mideast_quiz.html