U.S. officials wouldn’t let a plane carrying $400 million take off for Iran until three U.S. prisoners departed Iran in January, the Wall Street Journal reports.The mechanics of the exchange all but confirm accusations that the $400 million in cash was a ransom payment. Saeed Abedini, a former Iranian hostage told The Wall Street Journal, Iranian intelligence officials told him his plane could not take off until the movements of a second plane were confirmed. The second plane is like the U.S. cargo plane carrying $400 million in cash.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps General Reza Naghdi further confirmed the ransom story in January, telling Iranian state media “Taking this much money back was in return for the release of the American spies.”Obama administration officials dispute the ransom narrative, claiming the payment was part of a series of scheduled payments and happened to coincide with the hostage release. At the time, President Obama credited “strong American diplomacy,” and touted his deal with Iran for making the negotiations possible.