Senators Isakson, Perdue Fight Obama Administration’s Ransom Payments to Iran

Co-sponsor legislation to prohibit ransom, instead pay victims of Iranian terror

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) co-sponsored the No Ransom Payments Act, which would prohibit the federal government from paying ransom and stop payments to Iran from the U.S. Treasury Department’s “judgment fund” until Iran returns the ransom money it received from the Obama Administration and pays American victims of Iranian terrorism what they are owed as required by an April 20, 2016 Supreme Court ruling.

“After years of struggle, I was just recently able to get legislation passed to ensure the American victims of the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis are compensated for the agony they endured,” said Senator Isakson. “Now, instead of seeing to it that our own American citizens are taken care of, the Obama Administration has paid ransom to Iran on top of its reckless nuclear agreement with this rogue regime. This administration’s misguided foreign policies continue to embarrass our country, weaken our national security and expose American citizens to greater threat from terrorists, all while going around the people’s elected representatives in Congress. Unfortunately, this legislation is very necessary to stop all future payments to Iran until American victims of Iranian terror are compensated.”

“We need to stop President Obama’s reckless trend of kowtowing to Iran,” said Senator Perdue. “The Obama Administration has engaged in secret negotiations, intentionally misled the American people about its dangerous nuclear deal, and doled out a ransom payoff. It is U.S. policy not to pay ransoms for hostages, and this legislation will prohibit President Obama—and any future president—from doing so again. Additionally, this legislation prohibits further settlement payments to Iran until American victims of Iranian terrorism are fully compensated for their outstanding claims.”

Senators Isakson and Perdue joined U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Burr (R-NC), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jim Risch (R-ID) in introducing this legislation. The No Ransom Payments Act was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-04).

On Aug. 9, 2016, Senators Isakson and Perdue wrote to U.S Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Obama Administration to provide the American people with more information on the secret cash payment to Iran made concurrently with the release of several Americans who were wrongfully imprisoned by Iran. Secretary Kerry has not responded to the letter.

The Obama Administration initially denied that the cash payment was made to Iran in exchange for the American prisoners. However, days later, it was confirmed by the U.S. Department of State that its $400 million cash payment to Iran was conditional on the release of American prisoners by Iran as part of the $1.7 billion settlement the Obama Administration reached with Iran, which has since been paid out by the Obama Administration.