Obama Wrong to Claim That We Approve of Iran Nuclear Deal

President Obama on Thursday emphatically denied that the $400 million cash payment his administration delivered to Iran on an unmarked cargo plane just as four Americans held hostage inside the rogue nation were released was a ransom payment and charged that his administration had been transparent about the peculiar deal.

President Obama says the backlash over the payment is an attempt by Republicans to distract Americans from the success of the nuclear deal.

Obama was responding to the revelation, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, that $400 million of the settlement was delivered by plane to Iran in cash.

The White House announced on January 17, a day after the prisoner exchange, it was releasing $400 million in funds frozen since 1981, plus $1.3 billion in interest owed to Iran.

Israeli security officials have said the deal reduces the threat for the time being, while Israel's political establishment continues to decry the deal as unsafe.

"This $400 million is actually money that the Iranians had paid into a U.S. account in 1979 as part of a transaction to procure military equipment", said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

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While U.S. -led forces have been fighting militants in Syria and Iraq for years, Obama said it's necessary to focus elsewhere, as well - in places like Libya, where Washington has been conducting airstrike campaigns for nearly nine months.

"These things are true about Iran, which announces openly and clearly that its goal is the destruction of Israel, and a report from the State Department published this year, has determined that Iran leads the world as a sponsor of global terrorism", the statement continued.

Obama said the money was paid in cash because sanctions still in place forbid transfers through banks.

"We announced these payments in January", said Obama in a live-streamed conference, "It wasn't a secret".

Obama said that "hundreds" of Americans are held captive around the world, and that he has assigned officials across the government to work with their families to secure their release.

Obama also answered political questions at the news conference, pushing back at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's suggestions that the November election might be rigged, calling the assertion "ridiculous".

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The White House contends it is instead part of a settlement over a 1979 arms deal, which occurred before an Iranian regime change.

Oh, and ignore the fact that the DOJ objected to the whole scheme, because they feared the world would view the money transfer precisely the way it's now being viewed.

Asked whether he feels any personal disappointment about not being able to do more to stop the Islamic State, Obama said: "I haven't gotten numb to it". They've already taken more Americans captives - probably as insurance until they receive the balance of that $1.7 billion.

He said the settlement agreement ultimately saved US taxpayers what could have been billions of dollars in additional interest.

"It was the assessment of our lawyers that there was significant litigation risk and we could end up costing ourselves billions", Obama said.

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