US $1.7Bln payment to Iran not ‘ransom’ money for prisoners release
On Sunday, the State Department announced the United States and Iran settled at The Hague tribunal Tehran's long-standing claim for $400 million that had been frozen by the United States since 1979. The settlement includes a $1.3 billion compromise on the sum's interest.
"There was no bribe, there was no ransom, there was nothing paid to secure the return of these Americans who were, by the way, not spies," Toner stated when asked if $1.7 billion the US government paid to Iran was tied to the release of US prisoners.
Toner explained the $1.7 billion transfer to Iran was part of the settlement, and was done on its own merits despite being concurrent with the announcement of the release of four US prisoners under a deal for a prisoner exchange reached on Saturday.
Under the agreement, Tehran agreed to free four Iranian-American prisoners, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, in exchange for seven Iranian nationals serving sentence in US prisons.