The ransom effect? Iran handing down harsh sentences for Iranian-Americans after swap
Republican lawmakers say the Obama administration's controversial “ransom” paid to Iran earlier this year is fueling a new wave of harsh sentences being handed down in the country to Iranian-Americans.
“President Obama’s cash ransom payment to Iran makes Americans more vulnerable and encourages unjustified prison sentences and blatant kidnapping like this,” Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio told FoxNews.com on Wednesday.
“Senior Justice Department officials warned the White House that Iran would view the pallets of cash as ransom, but the president didn’t listen, and now Iran is taking more hostages and demanding more money.”
Rubio made the comment after Robin Shahini, who had been living in San Diego, was reportedly sentenced Monday to 18 years for "collaboration with a hostile government."
A week earlier, Iran announced 10-year prison sentences each for Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi.
The sentencings follow a deal in January that freed Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and three others -- an agreement completed the same day the U.S. made a $400 million cash delivery to Iran.
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