When the US government sends $400 million in cash, stacked on pallets, to Iran on the same day the Iranian government releases four imprisoned Americans, it looks an awful lot like ransom.
On the other hand, when the US government decides to keep $400 million sent to it by the Iranian government pursuant to an arms deal for 35 years without ever shipping the arms, it looks an awful lot like stealing.
And when the US government reaches a settlement to finally pay back that money with interest, it looks an awful lot like justice.
Yes, the simultaneity of payment and release looks pretty damning on both ends.
On the other hand, it seems very understandable from both ends.
The Iranians have had good reason to distrust the US government for more than 60 years, ever since the US overthrew their elected government and saddled them with a US-approved dictator, then stole their money when they overthrew that dictator. As often as the US has screwed them, why would they trust the US to repay them absent some kind of leverage?
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