Speaking to Sepah News, the IRGC news agency on Sunday the Revolutionary Guard's spokesman denied the claim of a former commander who had accused the elite military of making money by taking hostages for ransom.
A viral video with English subtitles on social media which shows Hassan Abbasi, a former IRGC commander and a hardliner politician making a speech. In the speech, Abbasi says that in one instance the Guard "arrested a spy", presumably the American-Iranian journalist Jason Rezaian, and the United States paid $1.7b to Iran to secure his freedom. He claimed that 400 million was paid in cash.
U.S. media reported at the time that the Obama administration secretly airlifted $400 million in cash to Tehran in January 2016 at the same time as Rezaian and three Iranian-Americans were released, although the Obama administration later said the two events were unconnected.
The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement that the Obama administration reached with The Islamic Republic to resolve a decades-old failed arms deal signed during Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s reign, long before the Islamic Revolution.
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