US paid $1.3bn in interest on debt to Iran left over from Shah’s time, critics call it ‘ransom’

Two days after delivering $400 million in cash to Tehran to pay off a decades-old debt, the US paid $1.3 billion more to cover the interest, but Obama administration critics say the payment was essentially ransom for the release of US prisoners in January.

The debt dates back to the 1970s when the government of Iran paid the United States $400 million for military equipment that was never delivered because the revolution of 1979 ousted Iran’s US-friendly Shah, turning Tehran and Washington into bitter enemies. Amid the nuclear deal negotiations, the two countries agreed that the US would return the money – with interest. The total amounted to $1.7 billion.

READ MORE: Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian & 4 others freed in Iran prisoner swap deal

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the $400 million was delivered to Tehran in cash on January 17 – the same day Iran released three American prisoners. Critics claimed that the White House had essentially paid ransom for the hostages. The US State Department confirmed the link between the prisoner release and the payment, but insisted that the US had simply withheld the payment until the US citizens were set free in order to keep leverage over Tehran in case it tried to bail on the deal.

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau confirmed on Wednesday that, two days after the cash delivery, the interest on the debt was paid as well. The $1.3 billion was transferred in 13 separate payments of $99,999,999.99, with the final payment amounting to about $10 million.


“The $1.3 billion payment has been made. It was made through a transaction involving central banks but obviously not the US central bank because there are extensive restrictions on the financial relationship between the United States and Iran,” White House Press secretary Josh Earnest said earlier this week.

US officials offered no explanation as to why the Treasury Department kept the individual transactions under $100 million, but Trudeau said the debt was considered settled by Iran, despite being 13 cents short.

According to AP, the money went through a third nation’s central bank, although Trudeau would not confirm this, citing the confidentiality of America’s international partners. The US has no banking relationship with Iran and cannot make financial transactions with Iranian institutions directly. President Obama cited this obstacle when explaining why the $400 million payment had been made in cash, though it was apparently not a problem when paying the interest on the debt.

The money came from the so-called Judgment Fund, which the Treasury Department uses for settling litigation claims and doesn’t require direct congressional approval for the president to tap.

The US is not the only nation with debts due to Iran that have lingered since the Shah’s times due to poor relations. Earlier this month, Switzerland’s highest court ordered Israel to pay Iran around $1.1 billion plus interest to settle a debt related to an oil pipeline company that the two nations had set up in the 1960s.

US warship ‘harassed’ by Iranian speedboats near Strait of Hormuz

The USS Nitze, a guided missile destroyer, was intercepted by four Iranian military boats near the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, US defense officials said. The Iranians ignored attempts to communicate and acted in an “unprofessional” manner the US said.
The Nitze and guided missile destroyer USS Mason encountered the Iranians in international waters, where four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boats approached the warships at high speed, Stars and Stripes reported.

The Nitze hailed the boats by radio 12 times with no response, the statement said. After two of the Iranian boats came closer, the US crew used its ship whistle and flares in an attempt to communicate with the Iranians, but those attempts were also ignored. The destroyer ultimately changed course to steer clear of the Iranian vessels.

The boats failed to respond to radio comms. #iran

A video posted by RT (@rt) on

The Iranians allegedly came as close as 300 yards (274 meters) of the Nitze during the encounter.

“These sorts of unsafe and unprofessional actions can lead to escalation and miscalculation, which may necessitate additional defensive measures,” said Commander Bill Urban, public affairs officer for US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). “Commanding officers have an inherent obligation for self-defense.”

Urban said some 10 percent of all US encounters with the Iranians in 2015 and 2016 have been similarly unsafe.


“The Iranian high rate of closure on a Unites States ship operating in accordance with international law while transiting in international waters along with the disregard of multiple warning attempts created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures by Nitze,” the NAVCENT statement said.

“We absolutely expect all maritime nations to act in a professional manner in accordance with international law,” Urban said. “The US Navy continues to remain vigilant, and is trained to respond in a professional manner for all interactions.”

Commenting on the incident, Iranian Defense Minister Hosein Dehghan said the nation’s forces patrol the area to protect its territorial waters.

“If any foreign vessel enters our waters, we warn them, and if it’s an invasion, we confront,” he told the semi-official Tasnim news agency

The Strait of Hormuz is a key maritime route, through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply flows. It’s also one of the places where the presence of the US Navy stirs tensions with regional stakeholders. Similar complaints about allegedly unprofessional behavior regularly come from the Pentagon over Chinese forces in the South China Sea and the Russia navy in the Black and Baltic Seas.

We Are Being Groomed for the Next Big War

PunchFor Pound

+Daniel Price So why does the US want Russian backing Assad if the US wanted to get rid of Assad? And Putin must know what the US is about so is he working with the US or truly independent? Does Russia not also have central banks and bankers? So if they’re not controlled by the NWO, how did they escape control in the first place? If they are part of the NWO, how did Putin become part of the NWO? And I know about the coup in Iran but what about since then? Is Iran still under US control or did true Iranian leaders take back power from the Shah?

Look closely at the State Department spokesman at 6:00. Can you see the snake-face? His facial features appear snake-like to me. That face is very similar to other high profile big shots like: Howard Stern, John Fogerty, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, etc. Anyone else see it?

6.5 trillion is reported missing from the Pentagon budget this year.. Remember last time 2.3 trillion went missing? Hard to ignore the signs at this point
Lee Vickers

Something 2.8 times bigger than 9/11 on the horizon?
Jay Stimson

The banksters need someone to blame when the western economy collapses.

Regarding the unemployment points at 9:40 the true numbers are far worse than 29%…The supposed population is 324 million..As a business owner for 3 decades (construction) I need a finger on the pulse…My point; The total of workforce participants at the peak of U.S productivity was about 140 million…so if 94 million are “out of the workforce” the real number is closer to 66% are unemployed…Not 4 or 29 %… It is catastrophic… All businesses are doing horrible respective to the late 20th century. Hospitals are closed, super markets are consolidated, malls are closed, small business has been essentially destroyed…Yet, people are buying 100 million dollar apartments, Yachts, exotic vacations etc etc etc…We are in some weird times; economically.

I love the way you round up all these clips that really do a good job of exposing the idiocracy.


Spokesman grilled for half hour about cover up

Steve Watson | – AUGUST 19, 2016

In a remarkable exchange with the press corps, a State Department spokesman was berated and questioned for half an hour over blatantly obvious lies and deception concerning the Obama administration’s $400 million payment to Iran.

For the first time in seven months, State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted Thursday that it was a key part of the deal with Iran for American prisoners to be released, and without that provision, the Iranian government would not have received the money.

“In basic English, you’re saying that you wouldn’t give them the $400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?” AP reporter Brad Klapper asked Kirby.
“That’s correct,” Kirby answered.

The Obama government has repeatedly claimed that the money was part of a settlement over a failed arms deal from 1979, and was not a ‘ransom’ payment.
Klapper continued the line of questioning, leading Kirby to make remarkable accusations against the press.

“Listen, this happened in January, and this is the first time you’ve ever said flat out that they [Iran] wouldn’t get the money until the prisoners were released,” Klapper said.

“That took, let’s count it, seven months. Why all the beating around the bush if it was such a great and noble decision?” the reporter probed.
“The only reason that we’re having this discussion is because of press coverage, Brad,” Kirby said.

“So, evil reporters have made you dredge this out?” Klapper asked.
“No, I’ve never called you guys evil. I’ve called you other things, but never evil,” Kirby joked, attempting to make light of the situation.

“You can’t blame press coverage because you didn’t say what this was seven months ago,” Klapper responded.

“We did describe it seven months ago, Brad,” Kirby said.

“You did not say it was contingent, this was contingent on that,” Klapper replied. “Now you’re saying flatly out that this was, this payment was contingent on the release of the prisoners. You did not say that in January.”

The questioning then turned to the State Department’s alleged attempt to cover up deception over the deal by deleting eight minutes of a 2013 State briefing from the official record.

An exchange between State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki and Fox News reporter James Rosen was deleted after Psaki admitted that “there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress,” in other words, sometimes the government lies to conceal information.

Psaki and Rosen were referring to untrue comments made by another State Department official that there had been no official talks between Iran and the United States regarding a potential nuclear deal.

The State Department later claimed that the deleted portions of video were caused by a “glitch,” but then Kirby walked back that claim, saying that the video had been removed at the request of an unnamed government official.

After an investigation into the matter, Kirby claimed Thursday that there was no conclusive proof that the video was edited in order to deceive the American public, without ruling out the possibility.

“We aren’t sure whether it was done with intent to conceal or whether it was done as a result of a technical problem” Kirby said, claiming that a white flash could have been inserted into the already edited video in order to ‘inform’ the public that portions of it were indeed edited.

“If that were the case, don’t you think someone would come and admit that, rather than nobody of the 30 witnesses you interviewed can actually remember what happened?” Klapper questioned, adding “It seems like such a ridiculous explanation, it shocks me that you’re actually providing it here.”

“What you are telling us is that some unknown person called this technician to request that an edit that had in fact already been made by some unknown force be made again?” Rosen additionally asked.

“What I’m saying is, James, we do not know,” Kirby replied.

“In arriving at the conclusion that you’re unable to make a conclusion as to whether nefarious intent was involved here, it seems that nobody has taken into that assessment the actual content of the briefing that was actually erased or wound up missing, and so I want to ask you point blank: Doesn’t the content of the missing eight minutes tell us something about the intent?” Rosen asked.

“It just happens to be, in fact, the one time in the history of this administration, where a spokesperson stood at the podium and made statements that many, many people across the ideological spectrum have interpreted as a concession that the State Department will, from time to time, lie to preserve the secrecy of secret negotiations? That coincidence doesn’t strike you as reflective of some intent here?” Rosen added.

The State Department has clearly been caught in a web of lies and deception, as detailed in this report by CNN’s Jake Tapper, aired in June. Tapper outlines three big “lies” that he notes should “outrage every American.”

Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and