Now that the US has sent $1.7 billion to Iran in exchange for the release of five Americans, where does the man who set up the deal predict it will be put to use? Perhaps in funding peaceful organizations to improve international relations? Massive democratic reforms? Not exactly. When challenged by CNBC on the use of the unfrozen $150 billion in assets Iran will access as part of the nuclear deal as well as the swap payoff, John Kerry says, “I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists.”
Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged to CNBC Thursday that some of the money Iran received in sanctions relief would go to groups considered terrorists.
When asked about whether some the $150 billion in sanctions relief to Iran would go to terrorist groups, Kerry reiterated that, after settling debts, Iran would receive closer to $55 billion. He conceded some of that could go to groups considered terrorists, saying there was nothing the U.S. could do to prevent that.
“I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” he said in the interview in Davos, referring to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. “You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.”
But he added that “right now, we are not seeing the early delivery of funds going to that kind of endeavor at this point in time.”
“Other entities”? The “other entities” would include Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy army, which Iran directly funds and commands. The group (as “Hizballah”) has been on the State Department’s list of “groups considered terrorists,” as Kerry tries to slough off the context, since 1997. Hamas, the organization that Iran has directly armed, was put on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list at the same time. Perhaps the Secretary of State needs a link to refresh his memory?
Or perhaps he could check in with Treasury on the status of the IRGC. They also have it on their lists as a terror-related group, which is why the US tries to block its access to international banking. The Quds force, a subsidiary unit of the IRGC, has its own listing at Treasury.
Even if the funds don’t get immediately dropped into the bank accounts of terrorists, the sanctions on Iran at least provided some limitation on how much they could afford to move to their proxies and their own in-house forces of terror. The economic pressure that sanctions created forced them to put money aside to keep their people from rising up in revolt. Now that sanctions have ended, oil sales will boost their economy, giving the mullahs much more breathing space to stabilize their domestic situation — and allowing a vast increase in the amount of cash they can direct into their sponsorship of terror throughout the region.
That’s one reason this deal is such a disaster. It takes Iran off the leash in exchange for a ten-year delay in their development of nuclear weapons at best. It reveals the Obama administration as hopelessly naive, and in way over their heads.