Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Kerry denies cash payment in wake of Iran deal

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends a news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

A $400 million cash pallet delivered to the Iran at the same time a complicated nuclear deal was settled and four Americans were released were unrelated and not a ransom, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.

Kerry flatly denied any connection between the cash – and an additional $1.3 billion interest payment – and the implementation of the nuclear deal and the prisoner swap that all occurred in rapid succession. The payment was part of a decades-old dispute over a failed military equipment deal dating to the ’70s, before the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

“The United States does not pay ransom and does not negotiate ransoms,” Kerry said in Buenos Aires. “It is not our policy. This story is not a new story. This was announced by the president of the United States himself at the same time.”

According to AP, Kerry said the payment was part of a deal under the then-U.S.-backed shah to buy $400 million worth of military equipment in ’70s. The equipment was never delivered because in 1979, his government was overthrown and revolutionaries took American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The U.S. and Iran have been negotiating the Iranian claim to the money since 1981, and Kerry said that negotiation was separate from the nuclear deal and talks about Americans held in Iran.

He said the settlement agreement ultimately saved U.S. taxpayers what could have been billions of dollars in additional interest.

“We believe this agreement … actually saved the American taxpayers potentially billions of dollars,” Kerry said. “There was no benefit to the United States of America to drag this out.”

Kerry also said he is unaware of any video showing the arrival of a pallet of cash in Iran, which Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump cited at a rally Wednesday.

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1 Comment

  1. Amir

    August 5, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    $400 million cash as comparison to $755 million just sold by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos which is only less than one percent of Amazon company is really not much. The guy (Jeff Bezos) owns 17% of 474 million outstanding shares of Amazon. Come to think of it, one super rich person in US, has more money than the rest of Iranians combined. Iran and Iranians have to go a long-long way in to order to achieve such financial strength. Concessions should be made even some are very hard to grasp.

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