I posted this morning on how the Most Transparent Administration™ conducts itself in the era of Smart Diplomacy™: Launder $400 million in exchange for five hostages, refuse to call it a ransom, and then launder $1.3 billion more. Make sure it’s all in cash, à la Breaking Bad, load it in pallets, and fly it in, so you bypass the international banking system and Constitutional prohibitions.
Must I remind you, Obama took to the airwaves last month and bare-faced lied to all, smirking,
“We announced these payments in January. Many months ago. Th-that wasn’t a secret; we announced them.”
Iran is using that money already. Last month Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif toured Latin America with an entourage of 120 “politico-economic” delegates, stopping in Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela.
Algemeiner interviewed Ilan Berman, vice president of the Washington, DC-based conservative think tank the American Foreign Policy Council (emphasis added),
A vast majority of the hundreds of trade and economic deals Iran has signed with Latin American countries “haven’t amounted to anything, because the Iranians didn’t have any money,” Berman said. “But now, for the first time, Iran has the ability to put its money where its mouth is. Its economy is stabilizing, and it can now capitalize on all those promises it made to solidify its position in the region — and make those trade deals real.”
Iran, Berman stated, is taking a long-term approach to its relationship with Latin America.
Berman discussed how Hugo Chávez saw Iran as an anti-American strategic partner with like-minded countries like Bolivia and Ecuador, which matched Iran’s plans.
“I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Latin America,” he said. “And what you discover if you spend time down there is that it is like the third inning of a baseball game. Iran has all sorts of strategic interests in the region. Ten years ago, it was worried about Western sanctions; it wanted trade partners that would help it blunt the effect of sanctions. Now the Iranians are out of the box, and they’re looking for where they can increase their legitimacy and where they can increase their cooperation.”
Berman said, “The Obama administration doesn’t have a Latin America strategy at all. All it cares about is resetting relations with Cuba. So it has scoped down what it is interested about in Latin America. There is really no appetite in the White House to start talking about what the Iranians are doing there.”
. . .
“The Obama administration talks a lot about how the deal is tactical — that it is not intended to address Iran’s terrorism or human-rights violations, just strictly to deal with its nuclear program. But the benefits that are conferred to Iran as a result are strategic and transformative. The sanctions regime is a thing of the past; the era of macro sanctions is over. Iran is getting infused with multiple, billion-dollar trade and military deals, and its global ambitions are expanding. The nuclear deal is a gateway drug for Iran to do all sorts of things. Yes, it slows down Iran’s nuclear program, but at the expense of empowering everything else.”
What the “everything else” may turn out to be, we’ll soon find out.