The Obama administration has repeatedly rejected GOP accusations that the cash — part of a $1.7 billion agreement to settle a decades-old arms deal dispute — was meant to grease the release of four US prisoners who were freed in January when Tehran implemented a landmark nuclear deal. A fifth US prisoner was released separately.Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Thursday that the United States never pays ransoms for hostages, rejecting accusations that a $400 million payment to Iran was a quid pro quo for the release of American prisoners.”First of all, the United States of America does not pay ransom and does not negotiate ransoms with any country,” Kerry said at a news conference in Argentina. “We never have and we’re not doing that now. It is not our policy.”A furor erupted after The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday on the circumstances and timing of a cash payment to Iran. CNN had at the time reported that the transfer had been arranged.
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