Obama Threatens to Veto Bill Banning Ransom Payments to Iran

The Jerusalem Post reports: LOS ANGELES – The White House threatened presidential vetoes for two Iran-related bills on Wednesday, citing the “perception” that their passage would impact a landmark nuclear accord reached between Iran and world powers last year.

One bill, the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, would have required the US government to publicly detail how Iran’s leadership acquires and uses its assets. A second, titled the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, took aim at the sort of transfer of cash payments to Iran that has caused controversy in recent weeks.

The Obama administration expressed understanding for the first bill, but mocked the second as an “an ill-advised attempt to respond to a problem – so-called “ransom” payments to Iran – that does not exist, in a way that would undermine U.S. obligations and ultimately benefit Iran at the expense of the United States.”

A massive cash transfer– timed alongside implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action last January, as well as the release of four American political prisoners in Iran– was meant to end a decades-old Hague tribunal settlement that the administration says would have cost the US far more than it paid should litigation have continued. But the administration also said the transfer– in bulks overnight in cargo planes– was used as “leverage” to ensure the release of Tehran’s hostages.

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