Governor Pat McCrory—a man who is aggressively opaque when it comes to public records requests, a governor who has bumbled his way through television interviews in defense of a law (which he signed immediately) that violated the rights of trans people and workers, an executive whose administration is currently under fire for seemingly telling North Carolinians that it was all right to drink water that they shouldn’t (tainted by a company where McCrory worked for twenty-eight years), a guy who seems to be physically incapable of walking without stepping on his own dick and then blaming the media, Roy Cooper, the Human Rights Campaign, Chris Sgro, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Roberts, the “left,” musicians boycotting the state, or the NBA for it—has some thoughts about Iran.
McCrory is also fundraising off of it, complete with a giant green “Contribute” button at the end of the email.McCrory has been spending a lot of time with Donald Trump, so that could be why he’s spouting off the Iran deal without anyone asking for his opinion. Trump repeatedly told audiences at his rallies that he saw a video—a video, with his own two eyes—that showed U.S. officials giving $400 million to Iran in exchange for prisoners. Then, he backpedaled.
Both Trump and McCrory are wrong. Here’s what the $400 million was actually for, according to two Stanford law professors who penned an op-ed for The Washington Post:
The payment was not a ransom but rather part of a settlement agreement that the United States reached with Iran for claims arising out of the 1979 Iranian revolution, which toppled the pro-American shah and brought the current Islamist government to power. Before the revolution, the United States had signed hundreds of contracts with Iran, then an ally, to sell it military equipment. When the hostile Islamist regime took power, the military sales relationship collapsed. That left hundreds of millions of dollars of outstanding claims between the two countries and their citizens: claims both by U.S. companies for breached contracts and expropriated properties, and Iranian demands for the delivery or return of equipment that Iran had already paid for but not received — not to mention the issue of the 52 Americans that Iran then held hostage.
What’s more is that this has been open knowledge since January. The Obama White House, which hasn’t exactly been a paragon of transparency itself, published a press release after the Iran deal detailing exactly what happened.
This brings me to a second major development — several Americans unjustly detained by Iran are finally coming home. In some cases, these Americans faced years of continued detention. And I’ve met with some of their families. I’ve seen their anguish, how they ache for their sons and husbands. I gave these families my word — I made a vow — that we would do everything in our power to win the release of their loved ones. And we have been tireless. On the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations, our diplomats at the highest level, including Secretary Kerry, used every meeting to push Iran to release our Americans. I did so myself, in my conversation with President Rouhani. After the nuclear deal was completed, the discussions between our governments accelerated. Yesterday, these families finally got the news that they have been waiting for.
The third piece of this work that we got done this weekend involved the United States and Iran resolving a financial dispute that dated back more than three decades. Since 1981, after our nations severed diplomatic relations, we’ve worked through a international tribunal to resolve various claims between our countries. The United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding Iranian government claim against the United States government. Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought. For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran. So there was no benefit to the United States in dragging this out. With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.
So, McCrory is wrong, and now he’s fundraising on being wrong. This is nothing new, but Jesus Christ, man. HB 2 has devastated the state’s reputation. Your administration has caused an absolute shitshow by trying to protect Duke Energy from any sort of public or fiscal accountability. And right now, you’re getting a swift ass kicking in the polls.
Please, Pat: try to be right about just one thing in North Carolina before you start venturing into other countries.