GOP slams Obama after explanation of $400M payment to Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is facing a storm of Republican criticism after acknowledging that a $400 million cash payment to Iran seven months ago was contingent on the release of a group of American prisoners.

Thursday’s explanation was the first time the U.S. had so clearly linked the two events, which critics have painted as a hostage-ransom arrangement.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the negotiations to return the Iranian money from a 1970s account to buy U.S. military equipment were conducted separately from talks to free four U.S. citizens in Iran. But he noted the U.S. withheld the delivery of the cash as leverage until Iran permitted the Americans to leave the country.

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