The nuclear deal with Iran will release a huge influx of cash for the country, and concerns are mounting even within the Obama administration that the new funds could be used to finance terrorism, The Daily Beast
A nuclear agreement would unfreeze an estimated $100 billion due to a lifting of international sanctions.
"We are, of course, aware and concerned that, despite the massive domestic spending needs facing Iran, some of the resulting sanctions relief could be used by Iran to fund destabilizing actions," a State Department official told The Daily Beast.
In advance of the widely anticipated deal this week
, the administration has taken a hard line on the threat Iran could pose.
"The U.S. sees Iran clearly for what it is: the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism; a supporter of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas; a backer of the Assad regime's brutality in Syria; and a force for instability in Yemen," the State Department official said, according to The Daily Beast.
President Barack Obama is also on record regarding his concerns, having said in mid-May, "even if we deal effectively with the nuclear issue that we will still have a problem with some of Iran's destabilizing activities."
The Daily Beast said that there is a deeply held fear on both sides of the aisle that the billions of dollars in freed assets could be used to sponsor acts of terrorism.
"The White House says that Iran annually spends $30 billion on its military. So if under a final deal, as reports are indicating, the Iranian regime gets as much as $150 billion back [in] sanctions relief payments, even more money will be freed up for Iran to export aggression and support terrorists targeting the United States, Israel, and other allies," Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk told The Daily Beast.
An aide to Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who has been a leading critic of the Iran deal, said that the senator believes the Iranian government "will use a significant percentage of this payout to foment instability and violent extremism across the Middle East … regardless of whether there is a nuclear deal, and we must take steps urgently to formulate a strategy that pushes back and counters Iranian terrorism."
Supporters of the bill, however, believe it is unlikely that Iran will use the funds for terrorist activities.
"Critics have the luxury of dreaming up fantasy scenarios then defying others to disprove them … The idea that an agreement will result in $100 billion terrorist fund is without factual foundation," Joseph Cirincione, head of the Ploughshares Fund, a nuclear nonproliferation organization, told The Daily Beast.
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