WASHINGTON, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 19th August, 2016) - The United States acknowledged that it waited for Iran to release American prisoners before delivering $400 million in cash that it owed the country, but again insisted the payment was not ransom. Republicans including Donald Trump pounced on Thursday's admission as proof that President Barack Obama's government had misled the American people. "With concerns that Iran may renege on the prisoner release.
.. we of course sought to retain maximum leverage until after American citizens were released," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters. "That was our top priority," he said. In January, five American prisoners were released as Washington granted clemency to seven Iranians and withdrew arrest warrants for 14 others. Immediately thereafter, the United States helped airlift $400 million worth of Swiss francs and Euros to Iran.
The US government insists that money was meant to settle an old debt stemming from a military purchase by Iran. The money was delivered on January 17, just one day after a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers took effect. "We were able to conclude multiple strands of diplomacy within a 24 hour period, including implementation of the nuclear deal, the prisoner talks and a settlement of an outstanding Hague tribunal claim," Kirby said, referring to the money claimed by Iran.