Patterico's Pontifications

8/4/2016

I Guess It Depends On What The Definition Of “Coincidence” Is

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:55 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Today, at a press conference, President Obama was a bit testy when asked about that pesky issue of the non-ransom payment to Iran and the happy coincidence of it all:

REPORTER: What is your response to critics who say that $400 million in cash that you sent to Iran was a ransom payment? Was it really simply a pure coincidence …that a payment that was held up for almost four decades was suddenly sent at the exact same time that the American prisoners were released…?


(beginning at the 3:16 mark)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The timing of this was in fact dictated by… by the fact that as a consequence of us negotiating around the nuclear deal, we actually had diplomatic negotiations and conversations with Iran for the first time in several decades. So, uh, the issue is not so much that it was a coincidence as it is that we were able to have a direct discussion. John Kerry could meet with the foreign minister, which meant our ability to clear accounts on a number of different issues, at the same time, converged. And, it was important for us to take advantage of that opportunity both to deal with this litigation risk that had been raised. It was important to us that we finished the job on the Iran nuclear deal. And,since we were in a conversation with them, it was important for us to push them hard on getting these Americans out.

The reporter also asked the president if he could reassure Americans that none of the $400 million went to support terrorism. If you watch the entire video, he does not offer that reassurance.

Further, on Fox Business today, a reporter interviewed one of the four American hostages freed from Iran. Pastor Saeed Abedini claimed that he and the other prisoners were held at the airport in Iran and told that they wouldn’t be released until a plane the Iranians were waiting for had arrived. Coincidences abound!

“First of all, I’m so thankful for my freedom,” he said. “There is nothing like a life of being free.”

Abedini said he and the others waited a full night in the airport. According to police, they were waiting for another plane to arrive.

“They told us ‘you’re going to be there for 20 minutes, but it took like hours and hours,’” Abedini said. “We slept at the airport.”

Abedini said the plane and pilot were there, and everyone was ready to go, but they didn’t leave until 10 a.m. the next day. They eventually flew to the U.S. in the plane that had been sitting at the airport overnight.

When asked whether he believes the U.S. paid the Iranian government a ransom for his release, Abedini said he has his suspicions, 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.”

Hey, remember this reassurance from John Kerry?? Good times.

When asked about whether some the $150 billion in sanctions relief to Iran would go to terrorist groups, Kerry reiterated that, after settling debts, Iran would receive closer to $55 billion. He conceded some of that could go to groups considered terrorists, saying there was nothing the U.S. could do to prevent that.

“I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” he said in the interview in Davos, referring to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. “You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.”

–Dana

Mark Singer’s “Trump and Me”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

Mark Singer of the New Yorker is the man who wrote Citizen K, The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin. Singer has also spent time with and written about another notorious pathological liar, bully, and serial litigant: Donald J. Trump. Last night, I finished Singer’s short book Trump and Me, which revisits a profile that Singer did of Trump in 1996, and places it within the context of Trump’s current presidential bid. I enjoyed this short volume very much. If you already have a strong opinion about Donald Trump, your opinion is not going to be changed, of course — but it was nevertheless an entertaining portrait of the soulless epitome of shallowness and self-absorption that is Donald Trump. Recommended.


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