Based on the false story over the summer that the US paid $400 million in “ransom” to recover US prisoners held by the Iranian government, the House Foreign Relations Committee today voted 21-16 in favor of a wholesale ban on cash payments to Iran.
The actual $400 million payment was part of a $1.7 billion debt the US owed to Iran related to a Hague Tribunal ruling against the US. Iran had paid for goods and services from the US ahead of the Iranian Revolution and never delivered. They paid the debt in cash because the US doesn’t let Iran use the international banking systems.
The House bill, which has yet to be taken up by the House at large, sought to prevent paying debts owed to Iran in the future as well, demanding Congress be notified in advance of any future payments to Iran related to legal settlements against the US.
The bill is seen as highly politicized, and it’s not clear if it’s going to get to the floor, let alone be considered by the Senate. Committee chairman Ed Royce (R – CA) accused President Obama of doing Iran’s money laundering for them in providing them with cash payments.
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