Kerry defends $400 million payment to Iran, says U.S. does not pay ransoms

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends the Central Asia Ministerial at the Department of State in Washington U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends the Central Asia Ministerial at the Department of State in Washington, U.S. August 3, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday defended the Obama administration’s payment of $400 million in cash to Iran, denying it was a ransom for the release of American prisoners by Tehran.

“The United States does not pay ransoms,” Kerry told a news conference in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. He said the payment, which was part of a longstanding Iranian claim at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague, was negotiated on a separate track from the Iran nuclear deal.

(Reporting by Gram Slatery. Writing by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Alden Bentley)

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