The Obama administration denies allegations that a $400 million cash payment made to Iran soon after five Americans were released by Tehran was ransom as some Republicans have suggested.
The five Americans, including reporter Jason Rezaian, were released on January 16 in exchange for even Iranians that were being held for violating sanctions in the U.S. The exchange led to the lifting of international sanctions against the country.
The United States said it had settled a claim made by Iran at the Claims Tribunal in The Hague, during which $400 million in frozen funds were released and an additional $1.3 billion in interest. The released funds were a part of a trust fund used by Iran before the Islamic Revolution to purchase military equipment from the U.S. The funds had been tied up in litigation for decades.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government reform Jason Chaffetz sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for him to appear at a future hearing to discuss the payment.
John Earnest, spokesman for the White House, denied allegations that the money transfer was a ransom payment or secret.
“The Unites States, under President Barack Obama, has not paid a ransom to secure the release of Americans unjustly detained in Iran, and we’re not going to pay a ransom,” Earnest said.