‘Hardly a Fair Swap’ with Iran
“…you’re talking about exchanging hostages taken by Iran and Americans in exchange for criminals and potential terrorists“
Obama sent reinforcements to al Qaeda and the Taliban this week. He just did the same for the Iranian regime who scored multiple propaganda victories against the Great Satan this week including capturing and humiliating U.S. Navy seamen, forcing one to wear a hijab.
One wonders is the U.S. military is too decimated or too scared to even consider a military coup to overthrow the rogue dictator now openly defying and putting American civilians and soldiers at risk while protecting Muslims worldwide. Jarret, Brennan and Kerry all have Iranian connections the media doesn’t tell you about.
Source: Obama grants clemency to seven in Iran deal – POLITICO
As part of a prisoner swap with Iran, President Barack Obama granted clemency to seven men of Iranian origin either facing criminal charges in U.S. courts or already serving time in U.S. prison, an American official confirmed Saturday.
The deal led to the release of four Americans being held in Iran: Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian as well as Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, the official said. In a move that was not part of the prisoner deal, the Iranians have also released a fifth American in their custody, student Matthew Trevithick.
While an official confirmed Obama issued seven grants of clemency in the deal with the Iranians, spokespeople at the Justice Department and the White House did not immediately release the names of those spared in the U.S. legal system.
However, Iran’s Fars news agency released seven names, which correspond with U.S. court records on pending or recent cases.
Obama appeared to have granted rare, pre-trial pardons to three men awaiting trial in Houston for violating U.S. export laws by shipping high-tech equipment to Iran: Bahram Mechanic and Tooraj Faridi of Houston and Khosrow Afghahi of Los Angeles.
On Saturday, prosecutors moved to drop charges against Matin Sadeghi, a fugitive in the same case who was being sought in a wanted poster available on the FBI website. A court filing said the move was undertaken “based on significant foreign policy interests of the United States.” Until Saturday, Obama had never granted a pre-trial pardon to anyone, nor had his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
“It’s really unusual,” said former Justice Department pardon attorney Margaret Love, noting that President George H. W. Bush did some in the Iran-Contra probe and President Bill Clinton did as well. President Gerald Ford famously issued an unconditional pardon not only pre-trial, but without any charges having been filed, for former President Richard Nixon in the Watergate affair.
One reason to grant a pardon, rather than simply dismiss charges, is that the pardon provides an assurance that the charges will never be refiled. It’s possible the Iranians insisted on such certainty.
“That’s the reason you would do a full pardon,” Love said. “If the charges are dropped, you can be recharged.”
Three people already serving prison time appeared to have had their sentences cut short through the president’s commutation power Saturday: Arash Ghahreman of New York, serving a six-and-a-half-year sentence for planning to send fiber optic gyroscopes and electron tube to Iran and due for release in 2020; Nader Modanlo of Potomac, Md., serving an eight-year sentence for providing satellite services to Iran and due for release in 2021 and Ali Saboonchi of Parkville, Md., serving a two-year sentence for providing high-tech industrial parts to Iran and due for release in November of this year.
Prosecutors in San Diego also moved Saturday to dismiss charges against another individual charged in the same case as Ghahreman, Koorush Taherkhani, as well as a company, TIG Marine Engineering Services. Prosecutors called Taherkhani and the company “fugitives.”
“The United States’ makes this motion in the interest of justice based on issues regarding securing the extradition of the defendants, as well as significant foreign policy interests,” the motion said.
POLITICO also located three cases involving fugitive defendants in federal court in Washington which were dropped Saturday. All involved alleged export control or sanctions violations regarding goods headed for Iran. Mohammed Sharbaf was accused of shipping lift truck parts, Amin Ravan of shipping antennas and Mohammad Mohammadi of sending aircraft parts.
A U.S. official confirmed charges were dropped in cases involving 14 individuals. The moves will allow those individuals to travel more freely outside Iran.
“The United States also removed any Interpol red notices and dismissed any charges against 14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful,” the official said.
A hacker who admitted to breaking into the computers of a Vermont-based engineering firm also was on the list of those winning clemency from Obama in the Iran deal. Nima Golestaneh was extradited from Turkey to the United States in February to face the charges in federal court in Burlington, Vt.
Just last month, Golestaneh pled guilty to wire fraud and unauthorized access to computers. He was awaiting sentencing next month. Now, that sentencing will apparently not take place, but as of mid-afternoon Saturday there was no indication in the court’s docket of any action by Obama or the Justice Department.
Obama has used his clemency powers before to advance international negotiations. In 2014, he granted commutations to three individuals—including a convicted murderer—as part of a rapprochement with Cuba that also led to the release of an American held there for years, Alan Gross, as well as another unidentified person in Cuban custody.
And in 2010, the U.S. and Russia brokered a prisoner swap that led to 10 people charged with acting as agents for Russia being given unusually short sentences of “time served.” They were immediately flown to Vienna and exchanged for four people being held in Russian jails.
It should also be noted that Ex-CIA contractor not in Iran prisoner release.
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