On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom,” State Department Spokesperson Admiral John Kirby (Ret.) stated that the $400 million secretly airlifted to Iran at the time Iran was releasing US prisoners was giving not a ransom, and was giving Iran “their money.”
Kirby said, “Well, first of all, it was — it’s their money. This was $400 million in a trust fund that had been frozen back in the late 70s, early 80s. So, this was a longstanding claim. It was their money. And as a the president said at the time, and we spoke to this at the time, that now with the prisoners released, now with the Iran deal done, it made no sense for us to continue to drag out this claim, and so we settled it.”
He added, “Well, the only thing new is this article that I’ve seen in the Wall Street Journal, is some color here about the payment schedule itself, but — and I can’t speak to that specific issue. But the fact that we settled had this claim, and done so, I might add, by saving American taxpayers billions of dollars that we might have had to pay had we not reached this compromise.”
Kirby stated that “there was no secret about it. The president spoke about in January. The secretary spoke about it. I spoke about it. Everybody has been up front and honest about what happened here, and why it happened, and how it happened. And oh by the way, the teams that were negotiating the release of our Americans was a completely separate than was working in the Hague Tribunal to negotiate this claim, completely separate processes. Simultaneously done, the timing is all coincidental.”
He futher stated that Iranian defense officials claiming the money was a ransom payment were wrong.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett