Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan acknowledged Monday that he has received cash payments from Iran.
The president said Iran has "asked for good relations in return and for lots of other things in return" for the cash. "And we've also asked for lots of things in return in this relationship, so it's a relationship between neighbors." He also said the cash was given "to people outside."
His comments followed a report in The New York Times that Iranian officials gave Karzai bags of cash.
Karzai equated the cash from Iran with assistance the United States has provided to Afghanistan. He also said the United States is and has been aware of Iran's help.
"We are grateful to Iran for the help that they are giving and to those receiving that help under my instruction," he said.
"The cash payments are done by various friendly countries to help the president's office and to help, dispense assistance in various ways to the employees around here, to people outside, and this is transparent and this is something that I have discussed," Karzai told CNN.
"Even when we were at Camp David with President Bush, this is nothing hidden."