As you read or listen to stories about the implementation about the Iran deal, keep the following in mind:
The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States to deny Iran the ability to support acts of international terrorism and to fund the development and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them by limiting the development of Iran’s ability to explore for, extract, refine, or transport by pipeline petroleum resources of Iran (emphasis added).
That language is taken from the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 that, essentially, is the base law from which other Iran sanctions laws spawn. I’ve noticed in recent reporting that even policy experts become all caught up in the nuclear aspect of the matter. However, there are other issues including making it harder to export terror, that are short shifted in the coverage.
The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, builds on ISA, and other laws and executive orders. It aims to keep money away from specific Iranians including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its affiliates; Hezbollah; and many other persons and entities engaged in illegal proliferation activities as well as terrorism.
These laws remain on the books and they may not mean much to the Europeans, a big mistake if they believe that is true, but it most certainly should mean something to the United States. However, yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry said this about money that the United States gave Iran as part of the deal:
“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.”
Our gaffe-prone Secretary of State basically admits that Iranian frozen assets, as well as U.S. taxpayer money (for some odd reason, we sent the Iranians all the interest), will end up in the wrong hands. President Obama said something similar on Sunday. If an American citizen or corporate official said such a thing, I can just about guarantee that the FBI or the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) would investigate.
Another aspect to this story that should come out in the weeks ahead, has to do with the Iran Claims Tribunal and a claim process that has been ongoing for quite some time. The Wall Street Journal has started to cover it and you can read about it here.
The Iran Claims Tribunal, a process ongoing since 1981, has been a major thorn for the Iranian regime because, like other rogue nations such as North Korea and Cuba (keep an eye on the claims issues here), Iran thinks it can get away with breaking international law and not compensating victims. Congress should probe what role the Tribunal-related action items played in the JCPOA process. Congress should also ascertain if the United States paid ransom for hostages.
A lot of that money that the Obama administration gave terror state Iran should’ve stayed in the United States to compensate the victims of Iranian terrorism. U.S. law is designed to exact justice, not give the Iranian regime a free pass from its debts and other obligations. Oh, wait, one more thing. There is also a new U.S. visa carve out for Iranians that will allow entry to the United States without a visa.