(CNN) – “We have a policy that we don’t pay ransom…”
President Obama vehemently denying accusations that the 400 million dollars paid to Iran was ransom. Reiterating that the U.S. has never paid for the release of hostages.
The President continues: “the notion that we would somehow start now, in this high profile way, and announce it to the world, even as we’re looking in the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage, and saying to them we don’t pay ransom, defies logic.”
And insisting his administration has been transparent regarding the cash transaction that occurred on the same day that 3 American hostages were released.
‘We announced these payments in January. Many months ago. They were not a secret. It was not a nefarious deal.”
The payout re-igniting criticism of the administration’s controversial deal with Iran to stop its nuclear program.
“By all accounts, it has worked exactly the way we said it would work. You’ll recall there were all of these horror stories about how Iran was going to cheat, it would not work, they were going to get $150 billion to finance terrorism, and all of these scenarios, and none of them have come to pass.”
The president staunchly defending his handling of foreign affairs across the board, highlighting gains in the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
“ISIL has not had a major successful offensive operation in Syria or Iraq in a full year. Even ISIL leaders knows they will keep losing. Their message to followers, they’re increasingly acknowledging they may lose Mosul and Raqqa, and they’re right, they will lose them.”
And questioning if he can trust Vladimir Putin to help stem the violence – acknowledging the failing Syrian cease-fire agreement between Russia and the U.S.
“We go into this without any blinders on. We’re very clear that Russia has been willing to support a murderous regime, and an individual in Assad that is clinging to power.”