Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday likened the manner in which the Obama administration paid $400 million to Iran on the day five imprisoned Americans were released to a “drug cartel transaction.”

Speaking to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Cotton described the incident last January as “$400 million in small unmarked bills, flying into Iran on a unmarked aircraft, like it was a drug cartel transaction, not a legitimate negotiation between two governments.”

The administration maintains that the $400 million it paid to Iran was settlement of an unresolved claim dating back to the 1979 Islamic revolution, plus an agreed $1.3 billion in interest.

It has consistently denied that the payment amounted to a “ransom” for the Americans, or indeed was linked in any way to their release – or to the simultaneous implementation of the nuclear deal struck with Iran in drawn-out multilateral negotiations.

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