Ties between US payment to Iran and prisoner release get stronger

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Report: Iran Cash Payment Hinged on US Prisoner Release

A new report from The Wall Street Journal is further muddying the waters surrounding a large cash payment to Iran and the release of American prisoners.

U.S. officials told the Journal that Iran wasn't allowed to take control of the $400 million in cash until three Americans being held by Iran were released, which casts doubt on the Obama administration's account of the deal.

SEE MORE: Obama Is Over People Thinking That Iran Money Was For Ransom

For those who aren't familiar, the Obama administration agreed to pay Iran $1.7 billion for a 1979 arms deal. The U.S. government never delivered the arms it promised because of the start of the Iranian Revolution.

The Obama administration decided to settle the debt, saying the U.S. would likely lose the international court case surrounding the payment.

See images of the Iran prisoners released:

12 PHOTOS
Iran prisoner release deal
See Gallery
Iran prisoner release deal
Amir Hekmati waves after arriving on a private flight at Bishop International Airport, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Flint, Mich. The 32-year-old Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who was released from an Iranian prison as part of a deal with Iran is returning to home to Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Amir Hekmati speaks to the media after arriving on a flight at Bishop International Airport, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 in Flint, Mich. Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who was released from an Iranian prison as part of a deal with Iran, landed in his home state of Michigan on Thursday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
U.S. journalist Jason Rezaian waves as he poses for media people in front of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. Rezaian was released from an Irani prison last Saturday. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
U.S. journalist Jason Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi hold hands as they pose for media people in front of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. Rezaian was released from an Irani prison last Saturday. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
In this image made from video, former U.S Marine Amir Hekmati, center, is flanked by Michigan congressman Dan Kildee, left, and Hekmati's brother-in-law Ramy Kurdi as he speaks to the media in Landstuhl, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, who was one of four Americans released by Iran as part of a prisoner swap, is in good health and looking forward to getting home soon, a congressman said Tuesday. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Hekmati's home state of Michigan, said he spent several hours with the 32-year-old, who spent 4 ½ years imprisoned in Iran before his release over the weekend. (APTN via AP)
Dan Levinson, son of Robert Levinson, talks to reporters in New York, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The relatives of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran almost nine years ago, said Monday they're happy for the families of prisoners released from Iranian custody over the weekend but wished government officials had warned them he would not be among them. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Christine Levinson, center, wife of Robert Levinson, and her children, Dan and Samantha Levinson, talk to reporters in New York, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The relatives of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran almost nine years ago, said Monday they're happy for the families of prisoners released from Iranian custody over the weekend but wished government officials had warned them he would not be among them. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
U.S. Representatives Dan Kildee, right, and Jared Huffman talk to media people at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Four U.S. citizens who were released from an Iranian prison where transferred to Landstuhl for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
U.S. Representatives Robert Pittenger, center, Dan Kildee, right, and Jared Huffman, left, talk to media people at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Four U.S. citizens who were released from an Irani prison where transferred to Landstuhl for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
President Barack Obama makes a statement on the release of Americans by Iran, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama makes a statement on the release of Americans by Iran, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION

The White House had maintained the two negotiations happened in two different diplomatic channels. But if one deal was contingent on another, that could make it seem like the U.S. paid to rescue prisoners from a hostile foreign nation.

The exchange has become a partisan scandal, with Republican lawmakers accusing the U.S. government of paying Iran ransom to release the hostages.

The Obama administration denied those claims, saying it was a coincidence that the payment and prisoner release happened so close together.

"Some of you may recall, we announced these payments in January. ... This wasn't some nefarious deal," President Obama said in a press briefing.

Republicans aren't buying the explanation. Rep. Sean Duffy requested U.S. Treasury and Justice Department records related to the transfer, and Republican leaders are planning to hold hearings on the deal when Congress reconvenes in September.


Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners