U.S. Ship Forced to Change Course After Being Harrassed by Iranian Vessels

In an open act of harassment, a fast attack craft, belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps approached a U.S. Navy coastal patrol ship in the central Gulf Sunday, coming within 100 yards of the vessel.

A statement from U.S. Defense Department officials called the encounter between the Iranian ship and the USS Firebolt, “unsafe and unprofessional due to lack of communications and the close-range harassing maneuvering.”

According to the department officials, uncovered weapons manned by members of the crew were visible on the Iranian ships.

As the ship continued to approach the U.S. vessel, the Firebolt tried unsuccessfully to make radio contact.

After three attempts at communication with the Iranian ship, the Firebolt was forced to change its course.

According to one official, Iranian ships have been responsible for 31 such incidents of harassment this year alone.

“We don’t see this type of unsafe and unprofessional activity from any other nation,” the official said.

In August, Fox News reported a similar occurrence, which took place in the Strait of Hormuz.

An official with the U.S. Navy confirmed that four ships from the IRGC fleet “harassed” the American destroyer USS Nitze.

The official reported that during a “high-speed intercept,” two of the Iranian ships were able to come within 300 yards of the Nitze.

The USS Nitze, which was on a “routine transit” in international waters, was joined by the USS Mason, a guided missile destroyer, when the incident occurred.

One official described the action of the Iranian ships as “unsafe and unprofessional.”

He went on to say the incident “created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation.”

The USS Nitze made 12 unsuccessful attempts to communicate with the Iranian vessel after which the USS Mason sounded its whistle 5 times, but the Iranian ships continued to approach.

Just like the USS Firebolt, the Nitze was forced to change course. (For more from the author of “U.S. Ship Forced to Change Course After Being Harrassed by Iranian Vessels” please click HERE)

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MARK LEVIN: Dammit, Obama Lied and Iran Is on Its Way to Nukes!

Thursday on the Mark Levin program, Conservative Review’s Editor-in-Chief read a report indicating the Obama administration cut a secret deal with Iran to permit the terrorist-sponsoring regime to violate restrictions put in place by last year’s nuclear deal.

“This is the biggest issue of the day, the biggest issue of the month, the biggest issue of the year!”


“These are impeachable offenses. For Obama. For Vice-President Biden. For Secretary of State Kerry. For Susan Rice. For the whole top-level of the administration, the president on down,” Levin said.

“We have just armed up the most aggressive, detestable terrorist-state on the face of the earth! We’ve just sold out to them! They’re on their way [to] building nuclear weapons!”

“This is the fate that Barack Obama has sealed for the American people!”

Mark Levin continued after the break, tearing into the Iran nuclear deal and the feckless politicians who gave it to us.

“They may seek to wash their hands, but their hands are full of uranium! Their hands are full of plutonium!” (For more from the author of “MARK LEVIN: Dammit, Obama Lied and Iran Is on Its Way to Nukes!” please click HERE)

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WATCH: Four Iranian Vessels Harass U.S. Destroyer by Straits of Hormuz

Four patrol boats operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps harassed an American destroyer on Tuesday near the Straits of Hormuz, a U.S. defense official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Two of the Iranian boats came within 300 yards of the USS Nitze in a manner that the unnamed official called “unsafe and unprofessional.” The IRGC boats harassed the Nitze by “conducting a high speed intercept and closing within a short distance of Nitze, despite repeated warnings,” the official added.

The Nitze attempted to communicate with the IRGC vessels 12 times and fired 10 warning flares in the direction of the two closest boats. “The Iranian high rate of closure… created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation, including additional defensive measures by Nitze,” the official said.

The incident is the latest Iranian challenge to American presence in the Persian Gulf and its commitment to keep the area open to international shipping. IRGC naval forces captured ten American sailors and two boats in January, an incident that Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called “outrageous, unprofessional and inconsistent with international law” during a Senate hearing in March. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson echoed Carter’s assessment while announcing the result of the Navy’s investigation into the seizure in June. “Those boats and crewmembers had every right to be where they were that day,” Richardson said. “The investigation concluded that Iran violated international law by impeding the boats’ innocent passage transit, and they violated our sovereign immunity by boarding, searching, and seizing the boats, and by photographing and video recording the crew.”

The U.S. Navy reported last month that in 2015, there were close to 300 encounters or “interactions” between American and Iranian naval vessels in the Persian Gulf. While most of the encounters were not considered to be harassment, the behavior of the Iranian navy was found to be less disciplined than that of other navies. Lt. Forrest Griggs, the operations officer of the USS New Orleans, explained that risks arise from the unpredictable behavior and uncertain intent of the Iranian vessels. “It’s very common for them to come up to within 300, 500 yards of us, and then they’ll turn, or parallel us and stop,” he said. (Read more from “WATCH: Four Iranian Vessels Harass U.S. Destroyer by Straits of Hormuz” HERE)

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Obama’s Cash Deal Encourages Iran to Take More Hostages

The trickle of disturbing leaks about the Obama administration’s flawed and risky Iran policy continues to grow. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that “New details of the $400 million U.S. payment to Iran earlier this year depict a tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.”

Although President Barack Obama’s White House persistently has denied that the cash transfer amounted to a ransom payment, a State Department spokesman admitted Thursday that the U.S. government delayed making the payment “to retain maximum leverage” over Iran.

This concession confirms widespread suspicions that the negotiations over the release of four Americans were at least tacitly, if not directly, linked to negotiations over the return of frozen Iranian money that had been paid to the United States before Iran’s 1979 revolution for military weapons.

When the administration announced in January that the hostages had been released, it also announced that it had agreed to pay Tehran $1.7 billion to settle a longstanding claim at the U.S.-Iran claims tribunal, which was set up under the 1981 Algiers Accords that resolved the first Iran hostage crisis. But the White House insisted that the payment was made as part of the agreement that resolved the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis, not the latest hostage deal.

The January hostage deal involved the release of four innocent Americans held on trumped-up charges in exchange for seven Iranians justifiably imprisoned or charged with sanctions violations and the dropping of criminal charges against another 14 Iranians arrested outside the United States for various offenses.

Such criminals-for-hostages swaps reward hostage taking and the deal was criticized for that reason when the hostages were released on Jan. 17, the day after the “Implementation Day” of the Iran nuclear agreement.

But subsequent revelations have put the prisoner exchange in an even worse light.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 3 that $400 million worth of cash was transferred to Iran on the same day the hostages were released, at the request of the Iranian officials involved in the hostage negotiations who “said they wanted the cash to show that they had gained something tangible.”

Senior Justice Department officials had objected to sending the cash at the same time as the hostage release, but their objections were overruled by the State Department.

Clearly, Iranian officials consider the cash payment to be a hostage ransom. The commander of the Basij, a volunteer force affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, gloated in January that the United States had bought the freedom of the American prisoners with the payment.

The Tehran regime has arrested at least six more foreign visitors since the payment was made in January, including Reza Shahini, a dual Iranian-American citizen, and Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese national with U.S. permanent residency.

Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American businessman based in Dubai, was arrested in October while visiting a friend in Tehran.

Even more disturbing is the case of Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007. Levinson went missing after interviewing David Belfield, an American convert to Islam who fled to Iran after he assassinated an exiled Iranian opposition leader, Ali Akbar Tabatabai, in 1980 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Clearly, Tehran has concluded that crime does pay.

The Obama administration’s hostage deal is a dangerous precedent that puts more Americans at risk of being targeted by Iran and its terrorist surrogates to extract ransom payments in the future.

This is part of the hazardous legacy that Obama will leave for the next president. (For more from the author of “Obama’s Cash Deal Encourages Iran to Take More Hostages” please click HERE)

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Confirmed: Obama Lied About Paying Ransom to Iran for Hostages!

Breaking news from the Associated Press indicates that the State Department has confirmed the $400 million cash payment to Iran was in-fact contingent on the release of American hostages.

The Obama administration had previously claimed that a $400 million cash payment made to Iran in January was unrelated to the release of American hostages in Iran.

President Obama held a press conference earlier this month in which he explicitly denied paying ransom for hostages.

But this new report raises the question, why did Obama lie? (For more from the author of “Confirmed: Obama Lied About Paying Ransom to Iran for Hostages!” please click HERE)

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Wasserman Schultz Can’t Guarantee Iran Nuclear Deal Money Won’t Go to Attacking Israel

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) couldn’t guarantee money Iran got through President Obama’s landmark nuclear deal wouldn’t go to financing terror attacks against Israel during her debate Sunday against primary challenger Tim Canova . . .

Debate moderator Jim DeFede brought up the $1.7 billion Iran got in January as part of a failed arms deal settlement, which included a $400 million cash payment on an unmarked cargo plane that critics charged was effectively a ransom and tied to the nuclear agreement. Iran freed four hostages on the same day it got the cash.

DeFede misspoke about the amounts of money allocated to Iran through the nuclear deal, which is more than $100 billion in sanctions relief, but the crux of his question was whether Wasserman Schultz could guarantee that none of it would be used by Iran to finance terrorist attacks against the Jewish state.

“Can you guarantee that that money, that $1.8 billion that’s part of the Iran deal, won’t be used to finance terror against Israel?” DeFede asked. “Can you guarantee it?”

“You can never guarantee anything, Jim,” she said. (Read more from “Wasserman Schultz Can’t Guarantee Iran Nuclear Deal Money Won’t Go to Attacking Israel” HERE)

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Iranian President Asks His Friend Mr. Obama to ‘Fix’ a $2 Billion Court Ruling

…Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to President Obama demanding the release of $2 billion in Iranian funds that were seized from bank accounts in New York earlier this year.

The money was taken to compensate family members of victims of the 1983 bombing of a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran under a Supreme Court ruling in April. In all, 1,300 American victims have a legal claim to the money.

Ahmadinejad — known for his anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism — is said to be considering a political comeback and may be using Obama as a pawn to improve his standing.

“It is the clear expectation of the Iranian nation that the particular case of property seizure … be quickly fixed by your excellency and that not only the Iranian nation’s rights be restored and the seized property released and returned, but also the damage caused be fully compensated for,” says the letter from Ahmadinejad, which was made public Monday . . .

The letter comes as Obama is already taking heat for sending Iran $400 million in cash last January just as it released four American detainees. (Read more from “Iranian President Asks His Friend Mr. Obama to ‘Fix’ a $2 Billion Court Ruling” HERE)

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GOP Lawmaker Suggests Obama Administration Employees Should Face Jail Time for Iran Cash Deal

A leading Republican critic of the Obama administration’s policy toward Iran is alleging that the U.S. government violated federal law when it delivered $400 million in cash to Tehran on the same day the country freed four American prisoners.

“I want to know what Obama administration employees were involved with this and how long do they serve in prison,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “There is no doubt they violated federal law when they transferred U.S. taxpayer funds to a state sponsor of terrorism.”

Pompeo’s assertion to The Daily Signal goes farther than most Republicans have gone in their criticism of how the administration handled the cash payment, which the government says was not related to the prisoner release, but the result of a settlement with Iran of a decades-old financial dispute over an uncompleted arms deal.

Because the money already belonged to Iran, and did not have to be appropriated by Congress, most lawmakers and observers say the administration acted lawfully. Critics are more concerned that if Iran considers the $400 million to be a ransom payment, Tehran will be encouraged to seek similar terms for other dual national hostages it unlawfully holds.

“While I think the $400 million cash payment was handled in an incredibly stupid way, I don’t agree with Rep. Pompeo that the administration violated the law,” Patrick Clawson, the director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “The money is coming from a settlement account, which is frequently used for nonappropriated purposes. They’ve been in meetings trying to settle this claim for 20 years.”

Other observers say the administration should have informed Congress about the details of the $400 million cash payment before it happened.

“It may not be a legal issue, but it’s a best practices issue,” John Hannah, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said in a interview with The Daily Signal.

“These were sanctions established by Congress and for the president then to seek to circumvent them, even if it’s technically legal, without notification or consultation with Congress, is just bad practice and something the Congress ought to be upset about,” added Hannah, who was the national security adviser for Vice President Dick Cheney in the George W. Bush administration.

Pompeo, however, is asking for more. He told The Daily Signal he plans to send letters to the Treasury and Justice departments in the coming days seeking more information on who in the administration authorized the $400 million payment to Iran, and the government’s justification that the transaction was lawful.

“Until the president made an affirmative decision to pay that claim, it wasn’t Iran’s money,” Pompeo said in an interview. “It was American money. So they broke the law. The thrust of it is, ‘It’s illegal. You did it.’ And Congress has a role of identifying a breach of law and referring violators to the Justice Department for prosecution.”

After The Wall Street Journal last week broke the story reporting the details of the cash payment, Republican lawmakers were quick to call it a ransom, while some members of relevant congressional committees expressed frustration about not being fully informed by the Obama administration about what happened.

In January, Obama announced publicly that the U.S. and Iran had struck a deal for the U.S. to pay Tehran $1.7 billion to settle an arms deal from before the Iranian revolution of 1979. On the same day, Obama said the Iranian nuclear deal had been implemented, and that American hostages had been released.

The new Wall Street Journal story shed further light on what happened, reporting that the first installment of the $1.7 billion—the $400 million cash—had been shipped to Iran in the form of euros and Swiss francs on an unmarked cargo plan.

“We’ve been chasing this since January, when President [Barack] Obama announced he was giving Iran almost $2 billion,” Pompeo said. “In both classified and unclassified briefings, at no time was I told the timing of the money transfer, or the format in which it was transferred.”

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told a local television station last week that he too did not know specific details of the $400 million cash payment.

“It alarms me as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee that something of this magnitude was not briefed to me,” Burr told WGHP Fox Greensboro. “Not only prior to the exchange but since the exchange. Only through, in this case, the Wall Street Journal do the American people know the truth about what was committed to by the American government to the Iranian government.”

Sen. James Lankford. R-Okla., a member of the Intelligence Committee, did not learn about the cash payment until the administration announced it in January, his spokesman told The Daily Signal.

In June, Lankford offered legislation that requires the White House to make public the details of its money transfer to Iran. He hopes the bill gets a vote before the full Senate later this year.

“Many Americans, including myself, have been very suspicious of the transfer of $1.7 billion dollars to Iran, just hours after American prisoners are released and the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal,” Lankford told The Daily Signal in a statement. “I have worked to bring more transparency to all of the Obama administration’s reckless actions with Iran, especially any type of cash payment which helps fund the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to wreak havoc and work directly against American interests in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Yemen.”

When Obama announced the settlement, he described it as savings for taxpayers, arguing that the U.S. ultimately was going to have to give Iran the money it was owed. He argued the government would likely have had to pay even more if the claim went through the normal arbitration process at an international claims tribunal court in Hague.

When the hostage crisis of 1979 was resolved two years later, the governments of Iran and the U.S. established the arbitration court in Hague to settle financial disputes between the two countries. Some of the outstanding issues were resolved, but the legal status of the failed arms deal was not.

“Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought,” Obama said in January.

Speaking to reporters last week, Obama said the administration delivered the $400 million in foreign cash because U.S. sanctions law prevented the government from using dollars in transactions with Iran. (For more from the author of “GOP Lawmaker Suggests Obama Administration Employees Should Face Jail Time for Iran Cash Deal” please click HERE)

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Iran HANGS Spy Who Gave the US Valuable Nuclear Information

Iran has executed a nuclear scientist who allegedly accepted millions in bribes spying for the U.S., the country’s state-controlled media announced Sunday.

The strange saga of Shahram Amiri began in 2009, during Democratic presidential nominee Hillary’s Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Amiri was making a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia when he abruptly vanished without a trace. A few months later, Iran accused the U.S. of kidnapping Amiri with Saudi cooperation, but the U.S steadfastly denied this.

In early 2010, though, news reports started coming out claiming Amiri was a long-time U.S. spy inside Iran, and that his disappearance was a carefully planned CIA operation to allow him to defect to the U.S.

But things only got weirder from there. In June, 2010, Amiri resurfaced in two homemade videos where he claimed he had been kidnapped by the U.S. He said U.S. officials had tortured him and offered mammoth bribes to get nuclear secrets from him, but he claimed to have resisted all these efforts. Amiri also expressed a wish to return to Iran, which he did one month’s later to a hero’s welcome.

At the time of his return, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amiri had returned home after Iranian officials threatened to kill his son. Meanwhile, Iran’s official Fars news service claimed Amiri was actually a double agent, who had obtained secret information from U.S. intelligence during his stay in the U.S. (Read more from “Iran HANGS Spy Who Gave the US Valuable Nuclear Information” HERE)

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Freed American Pastor’s Story Adds More Questions to Dispute over Iran Cash Payment

The fallout from the revelation that the Obama administration paid $400 million in cash to Iran continued on Thursday when one of the four American hostages freed on the same day described how his trip home was delayed under murky circumstances.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American Christian pastor who was imprisoned in Iran, told Fox Business Network in an interview that he was taken out of his prison cell and brought to an airport in Tehran. There, a plane was waiting for him and other freed American prisoners, Abedini said. But before they could be flown home, Abedini said he and the other prisoners had to wait several hours for another plane to land first.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that a $400 million cash payment to settle a longstanding legal claim was delivered to Iran on palettes aboard an unmarked plane on the same day in January when Abedini and the other hostages were freed. The nuclear deal with Iran was also implemented that day.

Critics quickly charged that the transfer of cash to Iran—money it was already owed—amounted to a “ransom” payment.

When Fox Business Network’s Trish Regan suggested to Abedini that the plane he said he was waiting for could be the plane that delivered the $400 million to Iran, the pastor said he wasn’t told the details of the hold-up.

“They didn’t talk about money,” Abedini said. “They just told me about the plane. The reason they said you are here in the airport is because we are waiting for another plane. After that, they never told anything to me and I didn’t see anything.”

Abedini said he and the other freed hostages ended up spending the night at the airport waiting for the second plane.

Under those circumstances, Regan asked Abedini if he thought the U.S. government paid a ransom for his freedom.

“I don’t believe they will use this money for just building an orphanage, but I prefer that the politicians answer this question,” Abedini said.

At a press conference Wednesday, a deputy spokesman for the State Department would not clarify the timeline for reporters.

“As to the timing, I simply don’t—I can’t answer conclusively that these hostage—or these detainees, Americans, were on a plane before that money arrived,” said the spokesperson, Mark C. Toner.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has tried to settle criticism of the cash payment.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday, Obama said that the administration publicly announced on the day of the hostage release, and implementation of the nuclear deal, that it had also settled a $1.7 billion financial dispute with Iran over a failed arms deal dating back to the Iranian revolution.

The administration did not mention at the time that the first installment of that payment—the $400 million in cash—was paid in stacks of foreign currency that were flown to Iran on the same day the prisoners were released.

“This wasn’t some nefarious deal,” Obama said. “It wasn’t a secret. We were completely open about it. The only bit of news is that we paid cash.”

“The reason is because we couldn’t send them a check and we couldn’t wire the money. We don’t have a banking relationship with Iran which is part of the pressure we applied on them,” Obama added, referencing American sanctions that prevent dollars from being used in a transaction with Iran.

Obama’s defense hasn’t stopped critics from demanding more answers.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday asking about the Justice Department’s involvement in the cash payment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that senior Justice Department officials had objected to the cash payment, worried it would be seen as a ransom.

They were overruled by the State Department, the newspaper said.

“There are serious questions about this administration’s policies regarding paying ransoms to terrorists and state-sponsors of terrorism,” Grassley wrote in the letter. (For more from the author of “Freed American Pastor’s Story Adds More Questions to Dispute over Iran Cash Payment” please click HERE)

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