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Obama says $400m paid to Iran to free hostages not ransom

barack obama

                               Barack ObamaPhoto by Joseph Earnest


by Joseph Earnest August 5, 2016


Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Barack Obama has rejected criticism over a $400 million payment to Iran, a move described by Donald Trump as a "ransom." Barack Obama said the lump sum was negotiated separately from a recent nuclear deal.

"We announced these payments in January, many months ago. It wasn't a secret. This wasn't some nefarious deal," Obama said at a press conference at the Pentagon on Thursday.

"The reason that we had to give cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran," he added, going on to praise the nuclear deal and saying it had worked "exactly as intended."

Obama's remarks came after an earlier statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who said the $400-million (360 million euros) cash payment to Iran was not a ransom paid to free US prisoners.

The payout, which also came when a nuclear agreement was finalized, was negotiated separately and was part of an Iranian government claim going back to the 1980s, according to Kerry.

Several Americans, who were in Iranian prisons earlier this year, were nonetheless released at the time of the payout and the conclusion of the nuclear agreement.

"The United States does not pay ransom and does not negotiate ransoms," Kerry told reporters on a trip to Buenos Aires. "It is not our policy. This story is not a new story. This was announced by the president of the United States himself at the same time."

"It would have worked against the interests of our taxpayers," he continued, "and with the nuclear deal done, the prisoners released, the time was right to take advantage of that and resolve the dispute in the way that it was resolved."

Kerry said the payment resolved a longstanding Iranian claim at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague, and ultimately saved US taxpayers from paying even more interest.

"We believe this agreement ... actually saved the American taxpayers potentially billions of dollars," Kerry said. "There was no benefit to the United States of America to drag this out."   Add Comments>> 


 Source: Deutsche Welle















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