During an hour-long speech to pitch the Iran nuclear deal on Wednesday, President Obama admitted that he is under “no illusions” that the Islamic regime will use some of the money it receives under sanctions relief to fund its military and terrorist activities.
But Obama cited his administration’s “best analysts” who believe that the Islamic regime will use the $56 billion it is expected to receive under the nuclear deal to finance other “urgent” needs, such as infrastructure and pensions, rather than pay for terrorist activities.
As part of the nuclear agreement reached last month, the U.S. and other Western nations will suspend sanctions against Iran in exchange for concessions aimed at preventing it from developing a nuclear weapon. Critics of the deal have raised many concerns, including that it does not provide a strong enough mechanism to ensure that the Iranians are in compliance. Critics also say that unfrozen sanction money will likely be used to fund Iran’s military and terrorist activities.
“Now, this is not to say the sanctions relief will provide no benefit to Iran’s military,” Obama said in his speech, which was held at American University.
“Let’s stipulate that some of that money will flow to activities that we object to. We have no illusions about the Iranian government or the significance of the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds force,” he said, pointing out that Iran supports the terrorist group Hezbollah and other “groups that threaten our interests and interests of our allies.”
Though officials in the Obama administration have admitted that money returned to Iran as part of the nuclear deal will likely go to fund some of its support for terrorism, this is the first time Obama has publicly acknowledged that concern.
But he said he is not overly concerned a sizable portion of the money will go to fund terrorist activities. Such concerns miss “the reality of Iran’s current situation,” Obama asserted.
Iran has over $500 billion in “urgent requirements” to fund crumbling infrastructure and salaries and pensions, Obama said.
“Even a repressive regime like Iran’s cannot completely ignore those expectations,” he stated, adding that that is “why our best analysts expect the bulk of this revenue to go into spending that improves the economy and benefits the lives of the Iranian people.”