Trump Attacks Obama and Clinton Over $400 Million Cash Payment to Iran
Trump Attacks Obama and Clinton Over $400 Million Cash Payment to Iran

Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama over a report on Wednesday that revealed the United States gave Iran $400 million in cash at the same time that four American soldiers were released from Iran.

“Our incompetent Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was the one who started talks to give 400 million dollars, in cash, to Iran. Scandal!” said Trump on Twitter.

The Obama administration airlifted the money in an unmarked cargo plane in January, which coincided with the release of four U.S. citizens detained in Tehran, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (L) announce new sanctions against Iran at the State Department on November 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. officials announced a new set of sanctions they hope will inspire other governments to break off transactions with both the central bank and with businesses in Iran. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (L) announce new sanctions against Iran at the State Department on November 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Other prominent Republicans also came out criticizing the transfer.

“Obama administration sent plan[e] load of cash to #Iran as ransom as part of deal on hostages. Just unreal,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in a tweet.

The $400 million was the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to solve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The settlement, which was resolved before an international tribune, occurred on the same weekend the United States and other global powers brokered a nuclear deal with Iran.

“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” President Obama said on Jan. 17.

Although he did not disclose the $400 million cash payment, Obama did suggest the United States would give money to Iran.

“The United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding Iranian government claim against the United States government. Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought,” said Obama at the time.

“For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran,” he added.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: U.S President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meet with a small group of veterans and Gold Star Mothers to discuss the Iran nuclear deal in the Roosevelt Room of the White House September 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. Groups supporting and against the nuclear deal with Iran to lift sanctions have made their voices heard this week. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meet with a small group of veterans and Gold Star Mothers to discuss the Iran nuclear deal in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Sept. 10, 2015. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

The release of the prisoners was portrayed as a diplomatic breakthrough by Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration. The Americans who were released included Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, Idaho pastor Saeed Abedini, and former Marine Corps Sergeant Amir Hekmati. The United States released seven Iranian citizens and dropped extradition requests for 14 others.

Senior officials denied a connection between the cash given to Iran and the prisoner exchange.

“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 spokesperson John Kirby told the Journal.

“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,” he added.

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