A top political strategist and Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officer told supporters that Iran should kidnap hostages and ransom them back to the United States for “blood money.”
“Here’s how the IRGC generates funds. The IRGC detains a spy like Jason Rezaian,” Hassan Abbasi can be heard saying in a video that surfaced on Wednesday. “The U.S. pleads for him to be released, and we ask them to pay for him. Our government gets paid $1.7 billion to hand over this spy. By detaining one spy, the IRGC earns the $1-2 billion, which it was supposed to receive from the government budget.”
Rezaian is an Iranian American journalist who served as Tehran bureau chief for the Washington Post before he was arrested and convicted of espionage in a closed-door trial in Iran in 2015. He was released during President Barack Obama’s tenure as part of a prisoner swap on Jan. 16, 2016, the same day that U.S. officials paid Iran $1.7 billion.
Watch: Video shows official Iranian political strategist Hassan Abbasi suggesting that Tehran should take Americans hostage because their lucrative ransoms would make up for sanctions on the republic.https://t.co/TJQHIZrNCb pic.twitter.com/rL7Oe4Whgf
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 23, 2020
Earlier this year, President Trump ordered two airstrikes that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al Muhandis after Iranian-backed militants surrounded the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve.
Abbasi, who was arrested in 2019 for criticizing Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, claimed that Iran made $3 billion in “blood money” from Qatar due to Soleimani’s death before illustrating how Iran could use hostage money to build out the country’s infrastructure.
“Now, after they killed the IRGC’s Qassem Soleimani, our government received $3 billion as blood money for Qassem just from Qatar. The IRGC creates dams, roads, highways, and brings security to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and elsewhere,” Abbasi said.
“Do you want to solve the sanctions problem?” he continued. “Our naval forces should take 10 or 20 Americans as hostage every month. For each one of them, we should get $1 billion. If we get $1 billion per week, and the year has around 50 weeks. That’s at least $50 billion.”
Iran threatened to unleash Hezbollah attacks in Israel and Dubai if America further escalates tensions, but rhetoric between the countries has quieted in the weeks following several airstrikes exchanged by Iran and the U.S.
Source » washingtonexaminer