It is now possible that Iran might have a video of America’s $400 million cash payment to the regime after all — even though Donald Trump backed off such claims early Friday amid intense criticism.
An apparent Iranian TV documentary in February about the prisoner swap in fact shows pallets of cash, which the narrator indicates is the $400 million payment in question. The video was posted to YouTube this week, after new controversy erupted over the payout.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the payment, made in cash, coincided with the release of four Americans, fueling charges that the U.S. paid Tehran a “ransom.”
The narrator in the video, speaking in Farsi, describes the money as part of a “swap.”
“In this exchange, the Iranians demand the entire four-hundred million in addition to $1.3 billion in deferred interest,” the narrator says. “The morning of 17 January 2016, Mehrabad Airport. Four-hundred million dollars in cash is transported to Iran by airplane.”
The video originates from the site “Ansarclip.ir” and is believed to be an Iranian documentary aired after the U.S. prisoner release. FoxNews.com cannot verify the authenticity of the footage or the claims made in it.
The administration has insisted the money was separate from the prisoner release, part of a $1.7 billion payment stemming from an unfulfilled arms deal — a payment the administration announced in January.
But critics have called it ransom, and Trump told crowds Wednesday and Thursday there was video of the money being handed over — and that the tapes were handed over by Iran to embarrass the U.S.
“The tape was made right, you saw that? With the airplane coming in — nice plane — and the airplane coming in and the money coming off I guess, right?” Trump told a crowd in Portland, Maine, on Thursday. “That was given to us, has to be, by the Iranians and you know why the tape was given to us? Because they want to embarrass our country, they want to embarrass our country.”
After criticism from Democrats and media outlets who branded the claim “false,” Trump backed away from the claims, saying he had seen a video of the prisoners being released, but not the money being handed to Iran.
“The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!” he tweeted Friday.