Amir Hekmati waves after arriving on a private flight at Bishop International Airport, Jan. 21, 2016, in Flint, Mich. The Shah of Iran reportedly paid billions of dollars for weapons that the US never delivered after the Islamic revolution in 1979.
The US used a plane filled with $400 million in cash intended for Iran as "leverage" to ensure that American prisoners were released by Tehran, a State Department spokesman said Thursday.
The shipment, on pallets loaded with Euros, Swiss Franks and other currency, was loaded onto an Iranian cargo plane in Geneva, Switzerland, but not allowed to depart for Iran until a Swiss Air Force craft with the Americans on board was allowed to depart from Tehran, the Journal reported. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration over the payment.
"It's time for the Obama White House to drop the charade and admit it paid a $400 million ransom to the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism", Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said.
The U.S. timed a payment of $400 million to Iran to coincide with the country's release of American prisoners in January, according to a report.
Donald Trump earlier this month lied about seeing a top-secret video and lied when he falsely claimed that the US paid $400 million in ransom to free sailors who had accidentally traveled into Iranian territory.
The payment and receipt modalities of the funds were also seen to hinge heavily the release of the said hostages. For instance, even as debate ramps up around the issue of the forthcoming nuclear plants, American lawmakers continue to focus attention on the matter of a supposed ransom payment that was made for American hostages who were released from Iran around the same time as the implementation of the nuclear deal. Those concerns reportedly were dismissed by the State Department. All four are Iranian-born, dual U.S.
One of the Americans released in January was Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the holding up of the money until the prisoners were let go. The second plane is like the USA cargo plane carrying 400 million dollars in cash.
In response to the initial Journal report, Obama said it was necessary to transact the payment in foreign currency due to USA sanctions, which prohibit trading in dollars.
That question among many others is what U.S. Rep Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., wants to ask the U.S. Treasury Department, and he says he's not going to back down until all is known.