The summer political season has been suddenly seized by a fierce debate about #PalletsOfCash delivered to Iran on an unmarked cargo plane.
How did that happen?
In January, the United States government said it had sent $1.7 billion to Iran to settle a decades-old financial dispute over an arms deal. The payment was announced on the same day that the nuclear deal with Iran was completed and Tehran released four detained Americans.
Republicans quickly called the payment a ransom and an appeasement of a rogue state. While the political attacks soon fizzled, they gained new life this week when The Wall Street Journal reported a colorful detail: The first installment, $400 million, was paid in stacks of foreign currency that were flown to Tehran as the American prisoners were being released.
Donald J. Trump has assailed Hillary Clinton over the payment, saying she had started the talks that led to it. The White House has dismissed The Journal’s report as a “six-month-old news story.”