Last January, the Obama administration agreed on a $1.7 billion settlement between the US and Iran — $400 million for funds the US seized in 1979, and $1.3 billion in interest.
We know about the whereabouts of the $400 million. It was sent to Iran in cash on a plane and was heavily criticized for appearing to be ransom money — a payment the administration claims to have been “leverage” during the US hostage situation. Doubts have been raised over whether that payment was legal.
The $1.3 billion for “interest has been under scrutiny because it has not been clear who will be receiving the payments and when they would occur, although the picture is getting clearer.
A new report reveals Treasury Department funds were transferred to the State Department that resulted in thirteen “Foreign Claims” payments of $99,999,999.99. “They were all made on the same day, all sharing the same file and control reference numbers, all certified by the U.S. Attorney General, but each assigned a different identification number,” reporter Claudia Rosett wrote for The New York Sun. “They add up to $1,299,999,999.87, or 13 cents less than the $1.3 billion Messrs. Obama and Kerry announced in January.”
The Treasury Department’s Judgment Fund — the source of the “Foreign Claims” payments — states that the processing time for claims is anywhere between 6 and 8 weeks. However, it appears that the payments were processed within just a few short days of the Iran deal. “If the multiple 10-digit payments of January 19 do turn out to be connected to the Iran settlement announced January 17, that would suggest that the Judgment Fund completed its processing for Iran in a mere two days one of which — Monday, January 18 — was a federal holiday.”
“The State Department confirmed Monday that the Obama administration has paid Iran another $1.3 billion to settle a failed arms deal from 1979, but couldn’t describe who in the Iran government it paid, and couldn’t say what form that payment took — cash, check or otherwise,” the Washington Examiner reported.
In her report, Rosett explains that all thirteen claims omitted any definitive connection to Iran, with vague titles of “Foreign Claims.” But “together with a 14th payment of just over $10 million, the grand total paid out by Treasury from the Judgment Fund on that single day, January 19, for claims pertaining to the State Department, comes to roughly $1.31 billion.”
Funny how that works.