Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) went on Fox News Sunday to criticize President Barack Obama for sending $400 million in cash to Iran at the same time they released several American prisoners. He said that even though the money was part of a decades-old deal, many won’t see it as that and it will send a “dangerous” message to America’s enemies around the world.
“He said this payment was not a ransom,” Cotton said. “It doesn’t really matter though what President Obama says. It matters what the Iranians think and it matters what dictators and terrorists and gangsters all around the world think. And they clearly think that this was a ransom payment … That’s why it’s so dangerous.”
The Arkansas Sen. also blamed Obama’s administration for withholding information from Congress and the American public about the details of the cash transfer earlier this year.
“We didn’t know the cash payment, for instance,” Cotton said. “We didn’t know that it was paid for with bills that could be easily laundered or used for terrorism or support for Iran’s allies throughout the region. And we didn’t know that the Department of Justice opposed it. … There are still a lot of questions left to be answered. And the Obama administration continues to stonewall on this.”
Cotton compared the administration’s actions to “third world gun runner” and a “drug cartel to the world’s most dangerous terror state.”
News spread on Tuesday about the unmarked money that was secretly flown to Iran just hours before American hostages were released.
Obama commented about the incident on Thursday: “We announced these payments … many months ago. They were not a secret. It was not a nefarious deal. … We do not pay ransom for hostages.”