September 07, 2016

Corker on MSNBC: The American People Need Greater Transparency from the Administration on Iran

Senator Also Comments on the Failure of Syrian Peace Talks

WASHINGTON – On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress and the American people need greater transparency from the Obama administration after new details emerged yesterday regarding $1.7 billion in U.S. cash payments to Iran provided in conjunction with the release of American hostages in January.

“The fact is that just by…[the administration’s] own description of using those dollars as leverage to cause [the Americans] to be able to leave [Iran], just look it up in Webster's dictionary, it is ransom,” said Corker. “I think what it breeds is the fact that we in Congress and the American people need much greater transparency [from the administration] as it relates to our dealings with Iran.”

Following the failure of talks last weekend between the Obama administration and Russia over a cessation of hostilities in Syria, Corker also lamented the lack of U.S. leverage to end the fighting after Moscow’s military intervention last year in support of the Assad regime.

“It has to be somewhat of an embarrassment for a secretary of state to go into these meetings knowing that Russia stepped into the vacuum five or six months ago, has all the leverage in determining the future of Syria, and basically you have Secretary Kerry with hat in hand going to these meetings. He has no leverage, none, zero,” said Corker. “We lost our leverage when we didn't enforce the [president’s] red line [over the use of chemical weapons] back in 2013.”

He further warned of the ongoing slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria after a series of decisions by the Obama administration not to take additional action to stop the violence.

“The problem is that innocent people that wake up each day with the hopes and aspirations that all of you have, and that I have, are being slaughtered, and we have enabled that,” said Corker. “It’s saddening to all of us. It’s disappointing. It's disastrous…And yet there is no ‘Plan B’…It is the greatest humanitarian disaster in modern times, and the United States of America...has enabled this to occur.”