Echoing Obama Administration comments on the matter last week, the Iranian government today confirmed that cash payments from the United States made in January were unrelated to the prisoner exchange that happened around the same time, and that they were similarly unrelated to the nuclear deal.
This is well documented. The US was ordered by a Hague Tribunal to pay $1.7 billion to Iran over money that Iran had paid for military equipment before 1979, and which the US neither delivered nor refunded payment for. This included substantial interest for the 35+ year period, though the State Department presented this as a comparative victory since Iran had initially sought more interest on the money.
Despite State Department statements from back in January making it clear what the $400 million payment was for, the Wall Street Journal last week accused the White House of paying a “ransom” for the prisoners, and cited the payment, claiming it was a secret airlift of money to Iran.
The report sparked a flurry of condemnations by Congressional Republicans, who are opposed to growing rapprochement with Iran, and are eager to embrace any narrative that makes US-Iran ties look unseemly, even if those narratives are flat out untrue.