Americans prisoners were liberated in Tehran, Iran after a plane full of foreign money sent by the US arrived. Many people connected the two events and thought that the money was ransom. The President himself commented that the releasing of those prisoners and the money was a coincidence. The $400 million, the State Department said, was payment that the government owed to Iran as established in Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague.
However, after seven months, the Stated Department finally revealed that those events were, in fact, connected.
BREAKING: State Dept. says $400 million cash payment to Iran was contingent on American prisoners' release.
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 18, 2016
The Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs John Kirby argued that the US wanted to obtain maximum leverage to get the American prisoners home, so it took advantage of…
“these two things that came together at the same time”.
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) August 17, 2016
Even though the US decided not to deliver the money until Iran guaranty the liberation of hostages, Kirby insisted that was not ransom.
Whether money was “leverage” or “ransom”, still Iran received it in exchange for the hostages. That can generate other problems.
DOJ officials had objected to the payment … worrying that Iran would view the transaction as a ransom-for-hostages situation, which would only incentivize more hostage taking.
Moreover, it is important to consider that the Iranian state could use the money to finance terrorist organizations as it has been doing in the past. Which then begs the questions… why give them the money now? And who authorized it?
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Photo Credit to C-SPAN