Rumor-disproving website Snopes has proven itself especially unreliable on all matters political, and it did so again this week when it tried to “bust” the myth that President Obama had paid Iran $400 million in exchangefor American citizens being held in Iranian jails.
As you may recall, back in January, the Obama administration managed to win the release of the men. Within days, nearly half a billion dollars was transferred to Iran.
Both Snopes and the Obama administration insist that the payment was part of the Iran nuclear deal and completely unconnected to the release of the men.
““[T]he money transfer was the result of a settlement of a long-standing claim at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague around the same time that the prisoners were released,” the Snopes article reads. “The Tribunal was created specifically to deal with diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States.”
The article largely sources a statement from State Department spokesman Jack Kirby.
“The negotiations over the (arms deal) settlement … were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” Kirby said in the statement. “Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side.”
Here’s the problem: Snopes completely ignores several major factors, including that Iran’s own government insisted that the payment was a ransom for the men.
“Iranian press reports have quoted senior Iranian defense officials describing the cash as a ransom payment. The Iranian foreign ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment,” The Wall Street Journal said (via theFederalist Papers Project).
And then there’s Iran’s Fars News Agency, which quoted the leader of Iran’s Basij Militia, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, openly saying that it was a ransom payment.
“The annulment of sanctions against Iran’s Bank Sepah and reclaiming of $1.7 billion of Iran’s frozen assets after 36 years showed that the U.S. doesn’t understand anything but the language of force. This money was returned for the freedom of the U.S. spy,” he said, referring to released U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.