Top Republican presses Kerry for Iran 'ransom' details
© Getty
The Missouri Republican, who is the vice chairman of the Senate GOP conference, sent a letter to Kerry on Monday asking for quarterly financial records for the foreign military sales account at the center of a decades-old arms sale dispute between the U.S. and Iranian governments.  

“While your agency continues to deny it made a ransom payment to secure the release of American hostages, the facts clearly suggest otherwise,” Blunt wrote in the letter. “Your apparent dishonesty regarding the timing of the settlement has consequently cast serious doubt on the answers you provided regarding the source of funds that were used to pay off the Iranian regime.”

Blunt added that the funds from the foreign military sales account should have been used to compensate American victims of Iranian-supported terrorism. 

"Given your other misleading statements, I have serious concerns that the $400 million you provided in hard currency to a terrorist regime will also come out of U.S. taxpayers' pockets," he wrote in the letter. 

He added that once he's reviewed the quarterly statements, he would like to discuss them and the larger $1.7 billion settlement reached with Tehran in a classified briefing. The $1.7 billion includes the $400 million from the fund, as well as a separate $1.3 billion in interest.  

Republicans have seized on the details of the $400 million payment — including that it was made in cash and coincided with the release of U.S. citizens being held in Iran in January — to argue that it was a ransom that potentially violated U.S. sanctions and could be used to help support terrorism. 

Though the State Department said last week that Tehran didn't receive the money until after the hostages had been released, the Obama administration maintains that the two issues, as well as the landmark nuclear agreement reached last summer, were negotiated separately.