Obama reportedly downplayed the danger level of released Iranian prisoners


Politico reported on Monday that, in January, then-President Barack Obama downplayed the danger level of Iranian-American prisoners released from the U.S. custody.

The news outlet notes their freedom was granted in exchange for American hostages being held in Iran and to protect the Iranian nuclear deal.

At the time, Obama announced that all were involved with, "sanctions-related offenses, violations of the trade embargo," and, "were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses."

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However, Politico notes, "...some of them were accused by Obama's own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware."

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The Trump administration has promised to take a different approach to the relationship with Iran than Obama, with the secretary of state Rex Tillerson noting on April 19, "Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel...A comprehensive Iran policy requires that we address all of the threats posed by Iran, and it is clear there are many."

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A day after Tillerson's remarks, President Trump criticized the Iranian nuclear deal in a press conference, commenting, "As far as Iran is concerned, I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed...It was a terrible agreement, it shouldn't have been signed, it shouldn't have been negotiated the way it was negotiated. I'm all for agreements, but that was a bad one, as bad as I've ever seen negotiated."