The Obama administration is defending the $1.7 billion payment to Iran as a “a very good deal for taxpayers,” after the United States made a deal with the rogue nation around the same time as the release of five detained Americans from Iranian custody.
The dispute with Iran is the result of the decision to break ties with Iran after the revolution in in 1979, keeping a $400 million payment from Iran for military equipment that the U.S. did not deliver.
That was paid back, thanks to the Obama administration, plus interest – making it a $1.7 billion payment to Iran.
“Now, the reason that this ends up being a very good deal for taxpayers, is that our exposure, when it came to paying interest could have been much higher,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during the White House press briefing.
Earnest said that Iran previously wanted up to $8 billion in interest payments, and argued that the smaller payment of $1.7 billion was better.
“I think that’s an indication of how the interests of taxpayers were very well served by reaching the summit,” he said.
The fee does not include the $150 billion in sanctions relief that the country of Iran will receive as a result of the lifted economic sanctions against Iran.