Special to WorldTribune.com
The Obama administration paid Iran $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds after three years of secret talks over legal claims Iran filed against the U.S.
More payouts to Iran are likely in the future, according to a letter issued by the State Department and obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon.
The administration confirmed the payment after an inquiry by Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican. Many lawmakers and analysts viewed the $1.7 billion as a “ransom payment” for Iran’s January release of several U.S. hostages.
Julia Frifield, an assistant secretary for legislative affairs, defended the payment to Iran and disclosed that the administration is open to providing Teheran with more money if it is willing to settle several decades-old legal disputes with the United States.
“We are confident that this was a good settlement for the American taxpayer,” the State Department said.
The terms of the January settlement included the payment to Iran of a $400 million balance and an additional $1.3 billion in interest from a taxpayer fund maintained by the Treasury Department, a State Department official confirmed to the Free Beacon.
“When Iran releases American hostages, and then, on that same day, President Obama announces he is paying Iran $1.7 billion, Congress of course has to ask the hard questions,” a source familiar with the investigation told the Free Beacon.
“And when the Obama administration admits that over $1 billion in taxpayer money is going to the Iranian regime, Congress is obligated to respond. The State Department has ducked and dodged – providing a history lesson on international tribunals, focused on actions decades ago, instead of addressing dangerous misdeeds that were potentially just committed. That is suspicious.”