Michael J. Totten argues that paying ransom to Iran for the four Americans they kidnapped is bad enough, but we shouldn't ever transfer any money to countries that are openly hostile to us.
Even so, let's just say for the sake of argument that this didn't even resemble a ransom payment. Let's pretend, for the sake of discussion, that Iran released its hostages because it had a guilty conscience and that the arrival of the 400 million in cash was a total coincidence. And let's also pretend--while acknowledging that we're venturing deep into an alternative universe here--that the 400 million shouldn't have gone to the American victims of Iranian terrorism and hostage-taking.
Washington was still wrong to pay Iran the 400 million.
Because the United States shouldn't give money to any nation for any reason that we aren't at peace with. Would Washington have paid back a loan to Nazi Germany in 1943? Of course not. Would the US have given diddly-squat to the Taliban after 9/11? No way. Nor were Osama bin Laden's 100 million dollars in assets ever unfrozen.