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Warner: Timing of Cash Payment to Iran ‘Unusual’

• September 8, 2016 5:50 pm

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Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) called the timing of the Obama administration’s $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran "unusual" during an interview Thursday.

Warner was speaking with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto about the recent revelation that the entirety of the $1.7 billion payment to Iran was made in cash. There is also controversy surrounding the transfer because an initial $400 million was only airlifted to Iran after four American prisoners held by Tehran were released, leading to criticisms that the payment was a ransom.

"Despite people’s views on this, it was brokered into the deal that it was timed around the release of these hostages, which got some people alarmed that we had just paid for those hostages’ release," Cavuto said.

"Now, hey, listen, I thought the timing was unusual," Warner said before talking about sanctions and the international banking system.

The Obama administration has repeatedly denied that the payment was ransom, although the State Department said the money was used as leverage. The $1.7 billion was part of a settlement on a decades-old failed arms deal between both countries.

Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies testified to lawmakers Thursday that the United States may have handed Iran as much as $33.6 billion in secret cash and gold payments since 2014, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

There are fears that Iran could use some of this money to fund its terrorist activities, a charge the State Department has been unable to deny.