by Patrick Goodenough, CNSnews:
“This stuff keeps coming out – drip, drip, drip, drip, drip,” a reporter said during Tuesday’s State Department briefing, as spokesman Mark Toner declined to share details about how $1.3 billion in U.S. taxpayers’ money was paid to Iran last January.
“We’ve been very clear about drawing the line at what we’re going to say about the actual financial transaction,” Toner said. “And bearing in mind that it touches on certain confidentiality, third parties and other parties who might have been involved in that transaction, except to say that we have paid the settlement in full.”
The settlement referred to is the payment of $400 million in Iranian funds which had been frozen for 37 years, plus a negotiated $1.3 billion in interest.
The administration announced the payout in January, but early this month the issue returned to the headlines when the Wall Street Journal reported that the government had secretly airlifted to Iran $400 million, in foreign denomination banknotes packed on wooden pallets in an unmarked cargo plane.
The administration continues to deny that the money amounted to a “ransom” for imprisoned Americans, released by the Iranian regime at the same time as the $400 million was flown into Tehran, on January 16-17.
Last week it did, however, finally acknowledge that the departure of the Americans and arrival of the money were linked, confirming that the handover of the $400 million was contingent on the release of four prisoners.
This week attention turned to the rest of the payout – the $1.3 billion in interest. Investigative reporter Claudia Rosett reported on Monday that on January 19 this year, the Treasury Department sent to the State Department 13 sums of $99,999,999.99 each, plus one of $10 million, adding up to just over $1.3 billion.
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