Obama on Cash Payment to Iran: 'This Wasn't Some Nefarious Deal' | NBC 10 Philadelphia
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Obama on Cash Payment to Iran: 'This Wasn't Some Nefarious Deal'

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 1970s

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    President Barack Obama speaks to the media after a meeting with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon, Thursday, August 4, 2016.

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

    "We announced these payments in January," Obama said at a news conference Thursday afternoon, saying "this wasn't some nefarious deal."

    His comments echoed Kerry's comments made earlier in the day, when he 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 1970s, before the Islamic revolution in 1979. 

    Both Obama and Kerry flatly denied that the payment was a ransom. 

    Dangerous Flash Floods, Landslides Wipe Through Peru

    [NATL] Dangerous Flash Floods, Landslides Wipe Through Peru

    El Nino rains that followed a terrible drought in Peru led to mudslides, flooding and overflowing rivers. The floods have displaced more than 100,000 people and have killed scores across the country. Meteorologists worry that it could get worse, as more rain is expected through April.

    (Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

     

    "We were completely open about it," Obama said. "We do not pay ransom for hostages."

    "We were completely open about it," Obama said, adding, "We do not pay ransom for hostages."

     

    "The United States does not pay ransom and does not negotiate ransoms," Kerry told reporters 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." 

    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 1970s. 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 discussions 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." 

    Girl Saved During Hurricane Katrina Reunites With Rescuer

    [NATL] Girl Saved During Hurricane Katrina Reunites With Rescuer

    During Hurricane Katrina, Master Sergeant Michael Maroney was a pararescue jumper, flying over New Orleans picking up survivors in the devastating aftermath of the 2005 disaster, when he saw a little girl -- LaShay Brown -- below. 

    Brown was stranded without food or water when Maroney found her. On Saturday at her Junior ROTC Ball in Waveland, Mississippi, she reuinted with her rescuer.

    (Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

    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 on Wednesday.