The Obama administration acknowledged for the first time today that the $400 million payment to Iran was used as “leverage” in the release of several American prisoners. But don’t call it a ransom.
The State Department SPOX John Kirby admitted on Thursday that the US would not hand over $400 million in cash to Iran until it released four American hostages — two weeks after President Obama insisted the payment was not a “ransom.”
Kirby was asked at Thursday’s press briefing: “In basic English, you’re saying you wouldn’t give them $400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?”
“That’s correct,” Kirby replied.
Kirby added, “Because we had concerns that Iran may renege on the prisoner release…we of course naturally…sought to retain maximum leverage until after the Americans were released. It would have been foolish, imprudent and irresponsible for us not to try to maintain maximum leverage. So if you’re asking me was there a connection in that regard in the end game? I’m not going to deny that.”