Obama administration’s secret squirtgun emoji: $400 million in cash to Iran in prisoner release
From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:
We don’t pay ransom for prisoners, period: That was the old U.S. government emoji
What do these two things have in common?
1. Apple’s plans to replace its black-gun emoji with a cute green water pistol.
2. The Obama administration’s secret airlift of $400 million in cash to Iran that just happened to coincide with Iran’s release of four American prisoners detained in Tehran.
“Apple has declined to comment on the change in the gun emoji, which was reported by several tech news outlets, and the tech giant’s statement on the upcoming release of new emojis largely focused on gender equality and diversity.
“But gun control advocates have hailed the symbolic move as a step forward. New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, a non-profit organization, ran a Disarm the iPhone campaign targeting the pistol emoji. The organization’s Executive Director Leah Barrett told CNNMoney that Apple’s move showed it was standing up to the gun industry. ‘There are many more life-affirming ways to express oneself than with a gun,’ she said.
“Senior U.S. officials denied any link between the payment and the prisoner exchange. They say the way the various strands came together simultaneously was coincidental, not the result of any quid pro quo.***
“But U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.
“Iranian press reports have quoted senior Iranian defense officials describing the cash as a ransom payment.”
***The lesson of both incidents is: Put a little pressure on an American entity, and it will cave.