Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said the payment to Iran was part of the resolution of a longstanding financial dispute between the two nations, and was delivered in cash on pallets because the two nations do not have a banking relationship.
Earnest also denounced the assertions from some Republicans that the $400 million in foreign currency delivered to Iran was a ransom for four Americans released at the time.
Earnest dismissed a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday about the details of the cash payment as a “six-month-old news story” that is being pushed by opponents of the president’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump, the Republican nominee for president, posted Wednesday on Twitter that the payments amount to a scandal for Mr.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said in a statement that the cash payment shows that the Iran nuclear deal “is nothing but a series of bribes and secret agreements that will do nothing to prevent Iran from reaching nuclear capability, yet will provide funding for their sponsorship of terrorism and encourage them to detain more of our citizens.” At the time, the United States announced a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program, but it also announced separate agreements to release four Americans held in Iran, and a third agreement to resolve a longstanding claim by Iran over money held in United States banks.