More transparency needed to prevent unintended financing of terrorism
By Sen. James Lankford
Last month, we passed the first birthday of the Iran nuclear deal. In the last 365 days, Iran has moved baby steps by allowing inspectors to enter select nuclear facilities, altering its plutonium facility and selling some of its “heavy water” to the American taxpayer. But that is far overshadowed by its continued pursuit of nuclear capabilities and terrorism financing. These are serious concerns and must be addressed.
Today, Iran has even more components to aid its pursuit of nuclear weapons than it did one year ago. In the past year, Iran has claimed it collected around $100 billion from sanctions relief. It has used the sanctions relief to increase defense spending by 90 percent. It has purchased military equipment and tested several nuclear-capable missiles in the past few months. The White House has been quick to state that the missile testing is not a violation of the nuclear deal, it’s a violation of a separate U.N. resolution.
Shortly after the implementation, Iran released four American hostages. Just hours later, the Obama administration announced the release of seven Iranian prisoners and they issued a $400 million cash transfer to Iran, the first payment in a $1.7 billion transfer. In 1979, when the Ayatollah took over the government of Iran, the previous government of Iran was in the middle of a $400 million arms purchase from the United States. Every president since Jimmy Carter has refused to return the money to the ayatollahs since our government does not have direct relations with their Islamic dictatorship. But on the day of the hostage release from Iran, President Obama returned the $400 million from escrow and paid Iran an additional $1.3 billion in “interest payments.”
As the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran is known to aid a number of terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, which has killed nearly 300 Americans and has attacked the U.S. in Lebanon twice since 1982. This $1.7 billion transfer to Iran is in addition to the recent
multimillion-dollar purchase of Iranian “heavy water,” which was also purchased with American taxpayer funds. While the administration continues to cut funding to the American military, U.S. taxpayers now directly contribute to the Iranian military.