By Arash Karami, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
Recent revelations that the Barack Obama administration paid Iran $1.7 billion in cash just as four American-Iranians were released in January have caused a Republican furor in Washington.
In Tehran, by contrast, all political factions seem to agree that the settlement over a decades-old unfulfilled arms deal was a great deal — for Iran.
Iranian hard-liners have long voiced Republican claims that the payments were, in effect, ransom. President Hassan Rouhani and his allies for their part have pointed to the payments as proof that engagement with the United States is paying dividends.
No one in Tehran seems to share the State Department’s stated view that Iran was well positioned to get a lot more if negotiations at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague had dragged on.
At the time that the Americans were released, conservative figures in Iran added to the impression that the payment was tied to their release. The head of Iran’s Basij organization, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, said that the United States was so intent on “infiltrating” Iran that it was ready to give back $1.7 billion of the country’s money.