Republican wants Obama to explain Iran 'ransom payment'
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Sen. Roy BluntRoy BluntMembers help package meals at Kraft Heinz charity event in DC White House signals it can live without border wall funds Interior secretary hints border wall could be on Mexican land MORE (R-Mo.) wants the Obama administration to provide details on more than $1 billion given to Iran, suggesting the money amounts to a "ransom payment." 

Blunt, the Republican conference vice chair, on Tuesday sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew raising concerns about the timing of the payment, which came as American hostages were released from Iran. 
 
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“It is troubling enough that this administration appears to have acquiesced to a ransom demand to secure the release of three American hostages," Blunt wrote.
 
"It would be absolutely appalling for the administration to obligate U.S. taxpayers to pay that ransom to a regime that has supported deadly terror attacks against our citizens.” 
 
The letter to Kerry and Lew comes after the administration gave Iran $1.7 billion, which it said was to a settle a decades-old financial dispute dating back to the 1979 Islamic Resolution. 
 
Blunt said the timing of the payment raises "serious questions" and asked whether the settlement agreement was reached "for the express purpose of gaining the release of the three American hostages." 
 
The Missouri Republican, who is up for reelection in November, also wants to know whether the money came from the Defense Department's foreign military sales acccount or if taxpayer funding was used to help pay the $1.7 billion settlement. 
 
President Obama defended the payment to Iran last month, saying it was "much less than the amount Iran sought." 
 
"For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran," he added