Obama’s million dollar gift to Iran shortchanges terror victimsOctober 8, 2013
For years there has been a determined effort to help bankrupt terrorism by suing terrorist organizations. Families of North American and European citizens who have been killed or injured by Hamas or other terror groups have used the legal strategy with some success, winning several judgments in the courts.
However, collecting on those judgments has been a difficult undertaking. Victims’ lawyers have frequently argued that their clients should be compensated through the proceeds of seized Iranian property or rental income derived from that property. When it comes to artwork and artifacts, these cases have come down to technical decisions over the precise ownership of the antiquities.
But with that background in mind, it is quite disheartening to see this latest bit of news, in which the U.S. State Department and Pres. Obama have simply given away a million dollar artifact to the president of Iran on his way home from his trip to the United Nations in New York. That is $1 million that could have gone to the victims of Hezbollah or Hamas’s terrorism.
The second problem with this “gift” is how it skirts Obama’s self-proclaimed “toughest sanctions in history.” Although the gift is mostly a symbolic gesture, how kindly would the Treasury Department look upon a gift like this if given to Iran by a private citizen? Frankly, you could very well be prosecuted for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
In fact, one man recently was convicted for transferring $1 million to Iran. Hossein Lahiji, a Texas urologist, faces up to 20 years hard time in a federal penitentiary for sending about the same amount of money as Pres. Obama has transferred to Hassan Rouhani through this unsolicited “gift.” And Lahiji deserves it—but don’t you think Lahiji’s defense lawyers have just been handed a golden opportunity to get a reduced sentence because they can plausibly argue the president did the same thing?
Thirdly and lastly, why are we giving gifts at all to a state sponsor of terrorism like Iran? Could you imagine the outcry if we gave a present to Sudan, Syria, or North Korea?