(NBC NEWS) President Barack Obama said Thursday that it "defies logic" that a $400 million U.S. payment to Iran in January could be considered a "ransom" for hostages."
The State Department announced the payment on Jan. 17, a day after the Tehran freed four Americans and on the same weekend that U.N. sanctions on Iran were lifted. The State Department has said the payment was part of a settlement of a decades-long legal dispute before an international tribunal in The Hague and that the timing was coincidental.
"We announced these payments in January, many months ago. They weren't a secret. This wasn't some nefarious deal," Obama said at a news conference after meeting at the Pentagon with Vice President Joe Biden, members of his Cabinet, military commanders and senior staffers on the National Security Council.
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