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White House secretly airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran the same time four Americans were released

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The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the Obama administration secretly airlifted $400 million in cash to Tehran at the same time four American hostages were released by the Persian Gulf country.

But there’s nothing to see here folks, according to State Department spokesman John Kirby, who insists the payment was not a ransom — even if it arrived the same day the Americans were released.

“The negotiations over the [arms deal] settlement … were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” Kirby said in a statement. “Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side.”

The timing being one helluva coincident, apparently.

“The funds that were transferred to Iran were related solely to the settlement of a long-standing claim at the U.S.-Iran Claims Tribunal at The Hague,” the statement concluded.

But unidentified “U.S. officials” say otherwise, Fox News reported:

However, the Journal says U.S. officials acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.

The Journal also reported that President Barack Obama did not disclose the $400 million cash payment when he announced Jan. 17 that the arms deal dispute had been resolved. The administration has not disclosed how the $1.7 billion was paid, except to say it was not paid in dollars.

The payout was part of a $1.7 billion settlement between the Obama administration and Iran over a 1979 arms deal that fell through after the Iranian Revolution, when the U.S. froze a $400 million Iranian trust fund — the settlement, which included $1.3 billion in interest, was reached as the White House achieved its “historic” nuclear deal with Iran.

And while the administration denied the $400 million was for the release of the four Americans being held hostage, the cash flown in consisted of euros, Swiss francs, and other currencies — U.S. law forbids transacting American dollars with Iran.

… which makes one think of unmarked bills.

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Tom Tillison

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