A former Iranian hostage who was wrongly imprisoned in the country for three years said the Obama administration’s decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash encouraged the hardline regime to abduct him.
Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-American academic who was freed in 2019 by the Trump administration, said in a recent interview that Iran viewed the Obama administration’s 2016 decision to send the country nearly $2 billion in cash as a signal that hostage-taking could lead to sanctions relief. Wang was arrested by the Iranians in 2016, shortly after the Obama administration airlifted the $1.7 billion as part of a deal that saw other American hostages released from Iranian custody. The United States maintained the cash was not sent as part of a prisoner swap, but to cover the costs of a decades-old legal proceeding between the two countries.
“Iran saw it as a ransom payment, and they talk about it in the media in the open,” Wang told American Enterprise Institute scholar Danielle Pletka in an interview published last week. “It really doesn’t matter how Obama and his administration saw it. It was perceived by Iran as ransom, clearly. It is not even an inference. It’s their explicit statement. The moral of this is make America pay.”- READ MORE
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