Thursday, September 10, 2015

US Government Report: Where Will Iran’s Lifted Sanctions Money Go? Why, Terrorism
By: JNi.Media
No Deal with Nuke
Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz
( A copy of a Congressional Research Service report obtained by the Free Beacon, which was conducted in response to a request by Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), has revealed that much of Iran’s defense budget, which may be as high as $30 billion a year (out an overall budget of $300 billion), goes to funding terrorist proxy groups and rebel fighters across the Middle East, including in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip.

Estimates of Iranian military spending have varied over time, according to the report, and President Obama himself has changed his versions of that amount on various occasions. In 2012, media reports estimated Iran’s defense budget at approximately $12 billion, with a $3 billion extension authorized by the Iranian parliament. That year, then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly announced a 127 percent increase in defense spending. In an April 2015 interview, President Obama stated that Iran’s defense budget was $30 billion, although other public sources put the budget at between $14 and $17 billion. In a May 2015 interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Obama stated that Iran’s military budget was “$15 billion compared to $150 billion for the Gulf States.” In a July 2015 interview with the BBC, Obama stated that US partners in the Gulf have a combined defense budget that is “ten times Iran’s defense budget.” According to an Iranian state-owned media outlet, in March 2015, Iranian lawmakers approved an overall budget of nearly $300 billion.

The State Department’s 2014 Country Report on Terrorism noted that, “in 2014, Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), its Ministry of Intelligence and Security [MOIS], and Tehran’s ally Hizballah.” The State Department describes the IRGC-QF as “the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.”

Some regional experts claim that Iran’s defense budget excludes much of its spending on intelligence activities and support of foreign non-state actors. Similarly, another study, reported on by Abbas Qaidaari in Al Monitor in 2015, claims that actual funding for the IRGC-QF is “much greater” than the amount allocated in the state budget, as the group’s funds are supplemented by its own economic activities.

The spread of Iranian funds to proxy groups in the Middle East, according to the congressional report is (highest estimate per year shown):
Hezbollah: $100 – 200 million

President Assad’s Regime: $3.5 – 15 billion

Shiite Militias in Syria and Iraq: $12 – 26 billion

Houthi Rebels in Yemen: $10 – 20 billion

Hamas: Tens of millions (although currently Hamas officials have been complaining of being abandoned by Iran, following the tightening of the organization’s relations with Saudi Arabia).

The overall expenditure by Iran on proxies comes to between $3.6 and $16 billion.
As of 2013, Iran’s population is estimated to be 77.45 million, with a GDP of $ 368.9 billion (with only 8 million people, Israel’s GDP is $290.6 billion).

Senator Kirk, who opposes the nuclear deal with Iran, told the Free Beacon that this information is a sign that the deal will lead to more terrorism by Iran.

“The Administration is celebrating support from a partisan minority of senators for a nuclear deal that threatens the security of the United States and our allies,” Kirk said. “This deeply flawed agreement will transfer over $100 billion to a regime that US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper calls the ‘foremost state sponsor of terrorism,’ and pave Iran’s path to nuclear weapons.”

“Like North Korea before it, Iran will cheat on this flawed deal in order to get nuclear weapons. Congress must hold accountable the Iranian regime and ensure that our children never wake up to a nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East,” the Senator said.

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