Donald Trump lumped former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into the recently reported covert $400-million payment to Iran that coincided with that country’s release of four American hostages.
The Republican presidential nominee took to Twitter Wednesday morning to claim that the talks with Iran about the return of the U.S. hostages began during President Obama’s first term, when Clinton headed the Department of State.
Our incompetent Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was the one who started talks to give 400 million dollars, in cash, to Iran. Scandal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2016
The timing of the secret $400 million payment — concurrent with the release of four American hostages — as well as the method — in cash — made the payment of the funds highly suspect.
Nonetheless, the White House claimed the funds were a first installment on a $1.7 billion settlement with the rogue state on a failed arms agreement.
“As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim … were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story. “Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of The Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who was among those who were critical of the Iran nuclear deal, denounced the payment as a “ransom.”
“We were right in January 2016 to describe the Administration’s $1.7 billion transfer to Iran as a ransom payment,” the Illinois Republican said in a statement. “Paying ransom to kidnappers puts Americans even more at risk. While Americans were relieved by Iran’s overdue release of illegally imprisoned American hostages, the White House’s policy of appeasement has led Iran to illegally seize more American hostages, including Siamak Namazi, his father Baquer Namazi, and Reza Shahini.”
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