House Republicans press Obama administration on Iran payment

America's deal with the devil concept

"You promised transparency at the beginning of your administration, which is an essential and reasonable expectation of an open Republic like our nation".

The payments to Iran were announced in January alongside the official implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.

At focus was a $1.7 billion cash settlement of a 30-year-old case that preceded the freeing of several American prisoners in January.

The US payment "flowed in the same manner" as the original $400 million that an Iranian cargo plane picked up in Geneva, Switzerland, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous congressional officials. US officials have acknowledged that the first $400 million coincided with Iran's release of American prisoners and was used as leverage to ensure their return, the Journal said. It continues to insist no ransom was paid.

These disclosures appear to confirm key details about the payment that the administration had either denied or declined to elaborate on for months. On Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the No Ransom Payments Act, co-sponsored by 15 other Senate Republican lawmakers.

The $1.7 billion transferred to Iran earlier this year was an all-cash deal, the Obama administration said Wednesday. The remaining $1.3 billion represented estimated interest on the Iranian cash the US had held since the 1970s.

The payout was taken from a Treasury Department fund earmarked for settling litigation claims.

House Republicans press Obama administration on Iran payment
House Republicans press Obama administration on Iran payment

USA officials have maintained that cash was necessary because of US and global sanctions that have isolated Iran from the worldwide finance system. But that happened because Iran and the U.S. Have no direct banking relationship.

In his written testimony, Paul Figley, an associate director at American University Washington College of Law, pointed out that George H.W. Bush paid a $278 million settlement to Iran in 1991 for arms that were never delivered.

Lankford wants to know what changes to the deal's guidelines were made, if any other exemptions for Iran are being considered and why the changes were "kept hidden from the American people". "Iran should be held accountable, and the Obama administration's misguided policies must be stopped".

"It is unprecedented and risky for President Obama to be doling out millions to the Islamic Republic of Iran - in the dead of night, under wraps, and in cash", Pompeo said. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) also introduced a bill that would prohibit cash payments to Iran.

The State Department maintained the assertion that the payment was not a ransom, however. US lawmakers have voiced concern that Iran's military units, particularly the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, would use the cash to finance military allies in the Middle East, including the Assad regime in Syria, Houthi militias in Yemen, and the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah.

Royce's bill (H.R. 5931) is co-sponsored by Republican Reps.

The Florida Republican's legislation is backed by GOP Sens.

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