The Obama administration withheld its $400 million cash payment to Iran until Tehran released multiple American prisoners in a calculated exchange.
New details from the Wall Street Journal emerged Wednesday night revealing that U.S. officials refused to transfer the money to Iran until three freed Americans aboard a Swiss Air Force plane were en route from Tehran. Only afterward could an Iranian cargo plane depart from a Geneva airport to bring the cash home.The exchange occurred Jan. 17, one day after the Iranian nuclear deal was formally implemented.
President Obama and administration officials denied the payment was a ransom, maintaining that it was part of a $1.7 billion settlement over a failed arms deal from the late 1970s, before the Iranian Revolution.
U.S. officials have said that the cash transfer and prison release occurred through separate diplomatic channels. The State Department, with assistance from the CIA and FBI, spearheaded the prisoner-swap negotiations, while the cash transfer was led by State Department attorneys.
Read more: Washington Free Beacon