Mark Kirk

House Republicans press Obama administration on Iran payment

House Republicans press Obama administration on Iran payment

Obama administration officials told Congress on Thursday that Iran wanted "immediate access" to $1.7 billion paid by the United States in cash to settle a decades-old arbitration claim between the two countries.

At a hearing called by House Republicans, officials from the departments of Treasury, State and Justice defended the payment and its cash delivery. An initial $400 million was delivered Jan. 17, the same day Tehran agreed to release four American prisoners, and the Republicans are calling it a ransom.

Christopher Backemeyer, a deputy assistant secretary of state for Iranian affairs, said Iran wanted immediate access to the money, but he said he wasn't aware...

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