Some of the $150 billion that Iran will receive from sanctions relief as part of its nuclear deal with the U.S. will likely be spent on terrorism, National Security adviser Susan Rice admitted on Wednesday.
“Once they start getting that money are there any restrictions on how the Iranians can use that money? Obviously they can use it to build schools and highways, but they could use it to support international terrorism, right?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Rice.
“It is real, it is possible, and, in fact, we should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now,” said Rice, who is most well known as the public face of the Obama administration in the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2012, attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
In a deal signed Tuesday, Iran agreed to concessions aimed at preventing it from developing a nuclear weapon. In exchange, the U.S. and five other nations agreed to lift sanctions against the Islamic regime.
Critics of the deal worry that it does not go far enough to ensure that Iran will be unable to develop a nuclear weapon. Another concern is that money that will eventually flow back to Iran when the sanctions are lifted will be used for military and terrorist operations.
Rice said she believes that “for the most part” Iran will spend the unfrozen money on the “Iranian people and their economy which has tanked.”
And though she admitted that some of the money will be spend on terrorism, she downplayed that possibility with a bizarre defense.
“But the goal here, Wolf, was never, and was not designed to prevent them from engaging in bad behavior in region,” she said. “They’re doing that today. The goal is to ensure that they don’t have a nuclear weapon, and therefore, when they are engaging in that bad behavior, are that much more dangerous.”
The initial goal of the sanctions was the decrease the amount of money that Iran, the number-one state sponsor of terror, could potentially spend on terrorist activity.
Blitzer asked Rice again whether it’s possible that Iran could send billions of dollars worth of weapons to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad or to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
While saying that a weapons embargo prohibits Iran from sending weapons to other nations, she again admitted: “they may able to send money, yes.”