Republican nominee Donald Trump says it’s a “scandal” that President Obama’s administration paid $400 million dollars to Iran around the time four American hostages were released from Tehran.
Responded to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, Trump pointed out that negotiations opened when his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary 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!” Trump posted on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
“The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi,” the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night, detailing how the payment was made.
The State Department is denying the money was a ransom payment in exchange for the American hostages.
“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,” John Kirby, spokesman for the State Department, stated. “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.”
However, the Wall Street Journal notes that press reports in Iran quote Iranian officials who described the payment as ransom.
“Taking this much money back was in return for the release of the American spies,” stated Iranian military commander Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cites Iranian state media.