Raiders of the Lost Ark

Papyrus documents first published in 1911 cited a Jewish temple built in southern Egypt in the 5th century BCE. No one could find it—until 1997.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Archeology, Egypt, Persia, Temple

How President Obama Ignored the Law and Misled the American People about Payments to Iran

In response to revelations that the U.S. delivered $400 million in cash to Iran on the same day that Tehran released five American hostages, the White House has insisted that the money was just “leverage” and not ransom, that the payment and hostage release were frankly disclosed by the president in a January 17 press conference, and that the payment was the wholly unobjectionable remittance of funds owed to Iran since the 1970s. Not only do these claims stretch the limits of credibility, writes Rick Richman, but the American government also seems to be ignoring its forthright legal obligation to pursue the claims of victims of Iranian terror:

[At the January 17 press conference, President Obama] did not disclose that the payment had been made in untraceable foreign cash; nor that it had been delivered . . . to an Iranian airline sanctioned for its connections to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); nor that the IRGC may thus have gained control of the cash; nor that the administration lifted sanctions on the airline only the day before; nor that the administration had specifically linked the payment with the release; nor that the release and the payment had been virtually simultaneous. . . .

[Furthermore], in a January 29 letter to Secretary of State [John] Kerry and Treasury Secretary [Jack] Lew, Senator Roy Blunt . . . noted that American courts had found Iran liable for bombings of our embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983, the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and other terror attacks. He cited a finding by the Congressional Research Service that there were some $43.5 billion in unpaid Iranian judgments. He questioned why the administration paid Iran $1.7 billion [of which the $400 million was but the first installment] while those judgments remained outstanding, given the provisions of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act [of] 2000.

[That act] . . . directed that “no funds shall be paid to Iran . . . from the Foreign Military Sales Fund [FMS] until such claims [against Iran awarded by U.S. courts] have been dealt with to the satisfaction of the United States.” Senator Blunt’s letter stated that the damages in the cases against Iran “far exceed[ed] the $400 million” in Iran’s FMS account. . . .

[I]f the amount in Iran’s FMS account was far less than the U.S. claims against Iran under VTVPA, why was there any payment to Iran at all?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Barack Obama, Iran, Iran sanctions, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy