Donald Trump walked back his claims that he’d seen a video of cash coming off a plane in Iran as part of a $400 million payment from the US.
“The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
The footage from the hostage release in Geneva doesn’t match Trump’s description of what he saw. Trump had said at a rally on Wednesday that “Iran provided all of that footage, the tape, of taking” $400 million in cash from the US off a cargo plane.
“They have a perfect tape, obviously done by a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane,” Trump said. “It’s a military tape. It’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady.”
He also claimed the tape was “top-secret.”
Reporters and experts questioned whether such a video existed because there seemed to be no public record of it. A Trump campaign spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Thursday that Trump was referring to widely available video footage of three American prisoners being released from Iran and flown into Switzerland, but then at a rally on Thursday, Trump repeated his description of a video showing money coming off a plane.
The whole controversy started with a Wall Street Journal story detailing a transfer of $400 million cash to Iran amid a prisoner swap in January. Seven Iranians detained in the US were exchanged for Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-American prisoners.
The cash — euros, Swiss francs, and other currencies — was airlifted to Tehran on a cargo plane. The payment was part of a decades-old dispute over money that Iran sent to the US to buy weapons that it never received.
President Barack Obama said Thursd that the US had previously disclosed the $400 million payment to Iran and argued that the reason the payment was made in cash was because of existing sanctions in place against Iran.
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