TheHill: A State Department official on Friday defended the U.S. decision to use a $400 million cash payment to Iran as “leverage” to see the release of three Americans earlier this year.
“First of all, this was Iran’s money. It was money they were going to get back anyway,” State Department spokesman John Kirby insisted on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“It would have been foolish and imprudent, in our view, to go ahead and settle the cash payment of the principal when we didn’t have our Americans back,” Kirby said.
“We did use it as leverage, and we make no apologies about that because we got our American citizens back safely,” he added.
Kirby said that Iranian officials “were playing games with us” and U.S. officials “were very worried in the final hours here they were going to somehow pull a fast one.”