A senior Iranian official has denied claims that a $400 million payment to Iran by the United States earlier in the year was related to the nuclear deal the Islamic Republic has struck with six world powers.
Speaking on Monday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said the payment was part of the money owed to Iran by the US since before the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
He said January's payment was part of a sum of money the US has to pay to Iran over military purchases made by the regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran’s last monarch, who was deposed in the 1979 Revolution.
The payment, Shamkhani said, is thus not related to the nuclear negotiations that culminated in the deal, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Shamkahi said the fact that the payment was made at the same time as the nuclear talks concluded was “pure coincidence.”
“After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic has been availing itself of any opportunity to reclaim its assets frozen in the United States,” he said.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama also dismissed claims that the payment had anything to do with the JCPOA.
The JCPOA was concluded between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, namely the US, the UK, France, Russia, China (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) plus Germany.
Some critics of the nuclear deal in the US have also accused the Obama administration of having paid the money in exchange for the release of several Americans by Iran. This is while the release of the American nationals was enabled under a prisoner swap deal separately negotiated between Iran and the US.
Obama has also denied claims that the $400 million was paid to Iran to enable the release of the prisoners, saying the allegation “defies logic.”