Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash.So how much of this was actually, um, true?
Let's take a look.
The "foolish Iran nuclear deal" that Trump usually mentions is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (or JCPOA) which was signed on July 14, 2015 - not 2013.
What was signed in 2013 was actually just an interim agreement put in place while the JCPOA was being negotiated. It was called the Joint Plan of Action or the Geneva Interim Agreement and it contained this:
The first step would be time-bound, with a duration of 6 months, and renewable by mutual consent, during which all parties will work to maintain a constructive atmosphere for negotiations in good faith.Hmm. That would be negotiations for the JCPOA - a subsequent agreement. So it's a different thing, isn't it?
A small point, perhaps, but shouldn't we expect the President of the United States of America to at least get the date right??
Then there's the money.
This is a lie Trump often repeats. Here's the truth about the "$150 billion" Trump mentioned:
It was Iran’s money, frozen in international financial institutions around the world because of sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. For instance, many of the funds were held in banks in Asia, including China and India, as well as Turkey. Many of the countries received waivers to buy Iranian oil and gas during the sanctions but placed the payments in escrow-style accounts that remained off-limits to Iran. The Islamic Republic also transferred assets to Asian banks from Europe in anticipation of financial sanctions.And then what about that $1.7 billion?
On top of that, Trump’s repeated use of the $150 billion figure is off-base. That was an upper-range estimate, but the Treasury Department said much of it was not liquid. Once Iran fulfills other obligations, it would have about $55 billion left, Treasury said.
That was a settlement for the return of Iranian money plus interest. From Reuters:
The United States and Iran on Sunday settled a longstanding claim at the Hague, releasing to Tehran $400 million in funds frozen since 1981 plus $1.3 billion in interest, the State Department said.And some bullet points from AP News:
The funds were part of a trust fund once used by Iran to purchase military equipment from the United States but which was tied up for decades in litigation at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal.
- The $1.8 (actually $1.7 billion) was a debt owed to Iran, which bought military equipment from the U.S. that it never received because relations ruptured when the shah was overthrown in 1979.
- The debt was in international arbitration for years. As part of that, Iran paid settlements of more than $2.5 billion to U.S. citizens and businesses.
- $400 million, representing the principal and held in a U.S. government trust fund, was paid in cash and flown to Tehran on a cargo plane, which gave rise to Trump’s dramatic accounts of money stuffed in barrels or boxes and delivered in the dead of night.
On January 17, 2016(the day after the JCPOA took effect), the United States announced it had settled with Iran for FMS cases involving weaponry the Shah’s government was paying for but that was not completed and delivered to Iran when the Shah fell. Iran deposited its payments into a DoD-managed “Iran FMS Trust Fund,” and, after 1990, the Fund had a balance of about $400 million. In 1990, $200 million was paid from the Fund to Iran to settle some FMS cases. Under the 2016 settlement, the United States sent Iran the $400 million balance in the Fund, plus $1.3 billion in accrued interest, paid from the Department of the Treasury’s “Judgment Fund.” In order not to violate U.S. regulations barring direct U.S. dollar transfers to Iranian banks, the funds were remitted to Iran in late January and early February 2016 in foreign hard currency from the central banks of the Netherlands and of Switzerland.Considering all these stubborn facts, the answer to my opening question would be:
VERY LITTLE (IF ANY) OF WHAT DONALD TRUMP SAID IS TRUE.