After news broke of the Obama administration transferring $400 million to Tehran just as four American hostages were being released, State Department spokesman John Kirby was quick to shut down any suggestion that the payment was ransom money, claiming it was a coincidence.
But one hostage’s account of what happened brings doubt to Kirby’s statement. Pastor Saeed Abedini was on a plane waiting to return home, and his version of what happened seems to contradict the State Department’s claim.
In an interview with Fox News, Abedini told Trish Regan the Iranians refused to let the plane he was on leave until another plane arrived.
The hostages waited for hours and even slept at the airport until the following morning when they were finally released.
“I just remember the night at the airport sitting for hours and hours,” Abedini said.
He said that when he asked his captors why they weren’t letting him go, they told him they were waiting for another plane.
“They told us, ‘you’re going to be there for 20 minutes,’ but it took hours and hours,” he added.
When asked if he believed the administration paid for his release, the pastor said he was suspicious, but “they didn’t talk about money.”
“We call them terrorists and I don’t believe they are going to use this money for building orphanages, which I was arrested for, but I prefer that the politicians answer this question,” he said.
Watch the video below:
This isn’t the first time speculation was raised about the money being linked to the hostage release. In January, the Fars News Agency reported the money was indeed tied to the release.
We are glad the hostages made it home safe, but the fact that it is looking more like Obama paid ransom for them doesn’t help relations with Iran — it only tells them they can capture more American citizens for cash.