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Iran Says Cash Payment From U.S. Not Related To Nuclear Deal

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's national security council, meets with IRI leader Ali Khamenei February.

A top Iranian security official says a January cash payment by the United States was unrelated to the landmark nuclear deal, as speculation continued to swirl around the timing of the transfer.

The comments by Ali Shamkhani, head of Iran's National Security Council, come as Republicans and others critical of the deal hammer President Barack Obama for the transfer.

About $400 million in funds frozen since just after the 1979 Iranian revolution was shipped to Iran -- reportedly in cash, stacked on pallets -- in January.

The money was transferred at around the same time that four Americans held captive in Iran were released. Critics said it amounted to a ransom payment.

The transfer "was related to sale of military equipment to Iran prior to the revolution and had nothing to do with the nuclear deal," Shamkhani, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

The frozen funds were part of a trust fund Iran used to buy U.S. military equipment before the two countries cut diplomatic ties.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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