>> Hello everybody!>> The US State Department Thursday, acknowledging that yes, the $400 million in cash paid to Iran was in fact tied to the release of five American prisoners. But State Department spokesman John Kirby said it was no ransom.>> As we said at the time, we deliberately leveraged that moment to finalize these outstanding issues nearly simultaneously.
We of course sought to retain maximum leverage until after American citizens were released. That was our top priority.>> It was the first time the administration said publicly that it used the payment as leverage to ensure the prisoners were released by Iran. The payment had previously come under fire by opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement, who called the payment ransom.
>> Another 400 million in actual cash that was obviously used for ransom.>> Architects of the deal of course denying this.>> The United States of America does not pay ransom.>> We do not pay ransom for hostages.>> The cash which was delivered a day after the prisoner exchange actually belonged to Iran as part of a 1979 arms deal that was never fulfilled.
The funds had been frozen since 1981.