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Obama Admin Admits $400 million cash ransom payment to Iran

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Friday defended its decision to make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran contingent on the release of American prisoners, saying the payment wasn’t ransom because the Islamic Republic would have soon recouped the money one way or another.

In a conference call with reporters, senior administration officials said it made no sense not to use the money as leverage to ensure that four U.S. citizens were freed, especially as Washington was uncertain until the very moment their plane left that Iran would live up to its word.

The administration’s defense came after the State Department outlined for the first time that the Jan. 17 repayment of money from a 1970s Iranian account to buy U.S. military equipment was connected to a U.S.-Iranian prisoner exchange on the same day. Previously, President Barack Obama and other officials had denied any such linkage.

The acknowledgement kicked off a torrent of Republican criticism, who declared it evidence of a quid pro quo that undermined America’s longstanding opposition to ransom payments. – READ MORE

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