The US state Department acknowledged the relationship between paid in January 2016 Iran $400 million in cash and release of four prisoners in Iran, American citizens.
As explained by state Department spokesman John Kirby, the money was used as “leverage”. Earlier the administration denied the allegations that actually paid the ransom for the release of its citizens.
In its response, Kirby has also avoided use of the word, but he acknowledged that the plane with the money which was in the airport in Tehran, did not admit anyone until the release of the Americans. “We passed $400 million as long as prisoners have not been released,” said Kirby. “We had concerns that Iran may abandon the exchange of prisoners, so we, of course, sought to retain in its hands the maximum leverage until the release of American citizens,” added Kirby, but stressed that the two stories developed independently from each other.”
3 August 2016 secretly send cash to Tehran wrote to the newspaper the Wall Street Journal. The publication notes that some time after receiving the money, the Iranian authorities released the four prisoners in the country of Americans, including journalist of The Washington Post Jason Resolana. All were released with dual Iranian-American citizenship. The Americans, in turn, released from prison seven Iranians.
After the scandal erupted, the White house and state Department rejected accusations that he had paid $400 million for the release of people. “The United States under President Obama have never paid a ransom to secure the release of unjustly detained in Iran Americans. We will not pay ransoms in the future,” said White house spokesman Josh Ernest.
He explained that by the time we made a strategic decision to conclude a nuclear deal with Iran and for its realization it was necessary to resolve long-standing conflicts. The money paid was part of a long-standing dispute. The last Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, before the Islamic revolution of 1979 has paid to acquire from US a large batch of weapons. However, after the revolution, the monarch fled, came to power the Islamists, and the weapons were never delivered to Iran, and money the Americans have not returned. Iran appealed to the court in the Hague.
It was about $400 million, which during this time was assessed $1.3 billion in interest, all within the framework of this dispute, the U.S. had to return to Iran $1.7 billion of Funds were frozen because of the sanctions that were imposed on Iran. According to Ernest, the money was paid in cash, since at that time the sanctions were in force and transfer them to Iran some other way was impossible.