Appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box Thursday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that some of the money Iran got as sanctions relief will go to terrorist groups (see video below).
According to the Secretary of State Kerry, after paying off debts, the money that terrorist-supporting regime will end up with will be closer to $55 billion. He conceded some of that could go to groups considered terrorists:
“I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists. You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented, But right now, we are not seeing the early delivery of funds going to that kind of endeavor at this point in time.” [emphasis mine]
I wonder what he means by “labeled terrorists?” Even without the $55 Billion cash infusion, Iran has been giving political support and weapons to Hamas, and Hezbollah. Is Kerry implying that Hamas and/or Hezbollah are not really terrorist groups? That would be very dangerous as which Hezbollah has an extensive network in South America, and has threatened attacks in the U.S.
Analysts agree that Hezbollah started its infiltration of Latin America in the mid-1980s, establishing its first major stronghold in the Tri-Border Area, a relatively lawless region along the frontiers of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. From this base deep in the heart of South America, Hezbollah set up illicit enterprises to fund its operations in the Middle East and elsewhere, analysts say. Among the organization’s reported major undertakings are money-laundering, counterfeiting, piracy and drug trafficking.
By all accounts, those illegal activities are quite lucrative. A 2004 study for the Naval War College determined that Hezbollah’s operations in the Tri-Border Area generated about $10 million annually. A 2009 Rand Corporation report said Hezbollah netted around $20 million a year in the area. As a result, says Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of the book “Funding Evil,” the Tri-Border Area constitutes Hezbollah’s most significant source of independent funding.
Kerry says that he hasn’t seen a transfer of funds to terrorist groups as of yet, which sounds good until you realize that the deal was only finalized four days earlier.
He also says, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.” But there is one way Mr. Kerry, we could prevent them from getting the cash. We could have avoided giving them the sweet heart deal you and President Obama gave them? Is it too much to ask not to negotiate a deal where Iran gets to inspect itself, keep its centrifuges in a closet, and of course trust that Iran is transferring its uranium to Mr. Putin’s Russia?
But putting the future of America and our children is not as much of a concern to this Administration as is Obama and Kerry’s personal legacy. After all, unlike Mr. Kerry, most Americans know how to identify a terrorist group, without “labels.”
Former Ambassador John Bolton calls Kerry’s admission “embarrassing.”
Here’s the full video of Kerry’s CNBC Interview: