National Security Council spokesman John Kirby attended yesterday’s White House press briefing. The White House has posted the transcript here.
Kirby was asked about the $6 billion payoff to Iran for the release of five American hostages, with additional American hostages to be taken later. I have written about this disgraceful and destructive deal several times. One reporter actually asked Kirby about the administration’s nonsensical dodge regarding the payoff:
Question: Then why did we need to add $6 billion on top of that to —
MR. KIRBY: This is the deal that we were able to strike to secure the release of five Americans. It would be great, wonderful if we could just pick up the phone and call the mullahs and say, “Hey, we want our Americans back. Send them back on the next plane.” But you and I both know that’s not going to happen, particularly with Iran.
And getting Americans home requires decisions, sometimes really tough decisions. It requires compromise. It requires negotiations. It requires negotiations with people you really would rather not be sitting across the table from, but you got to do it because Americans overseas in trouble wrongfully detained need to know and their families need to know that this President and this administration will do what it takes to bring them home.
We’re comfortable in the parameters of this deal. I get it. I’ve heard the critics that they’re — somehow, they’re getting the better end of it. Ask the families of those five Americans who’s getting the better end of it, and I think you’d get a different answer.
We’re comfortable with the parameters of this deal. We’re comfortable that there’ll be enough restrictions — quite frankly, very rigid restrictions — on the Iranians ability to use this money. And we make no apologies for the fact that we’re going to get these — these five Americans home just as soon as possible.
Question: President Raisi says it’s up to them how they use the money.
MR. KIRBY: He’s wrong.
Question: How are you going to guarantee that? Because once the money is — money is fungible. So, once —
MR. KIRBY: No, ma’am.
Question: — it’s released —
MR. KIRBY: No, ma’am. No, ma’am. It’s not fungible. He’s just wrong. He’s just flat-out wrong. The way this — the way this deal is arranged is that these — these — the $6 billion, which is Iranian money, will go to a Qatari bank — Qatari National Bank.
The Iranians can request withdrawals for it for humanitarian purposes, and the Qataris — and it will be — and us — we will have oversight — sufficient oversight into the request itself to validate the request and then to deliver funds appropriate to that request.
The money will be then — will then go to qualified vendors to purchase and deliver the food, the medical supplies into Iran. So, it will go directly to aid organizations or appropriate relevant organizations inside Iran so that the Iranian people can benefit from it. And that’s an important point, too.
While we certainly have issues with the regime, we don’t have issues with the Iranian people. And this funding will be a — will be important to helping them get over some tough times.
One doesn’t have to look at Kirby’s remarks too closely to see that he makes no argument. He has none. Case closed. This is a pathetic joke.