by WorldTribune Staff, October 13, 2016
Iran likely used a portion of the Obama administration’s $1.7 billion cash payment to arm Houthi rebels in Yemen who recently fired missiles at a U.S. Navy vessel in the Red Sea, a report said.
Members of Congress are investigating how American taxpayer funds are being used by Iran to fund global terror operations, including attacks on U.S. forces, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Oct. 12.
Related: In first, U.S. warship forced to defend against 2 missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthis, Oct. 12, 2016
“Just this weekend, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels shot missiles at a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Red Sea,” Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, told the Free Beacon. “It is not a coincidence that Iranian aggression against America and our allies has doubled since the JCPOA (nuclear deal) went into effect — the $150 billion signing bonus is clearly going a long way.”
Cruz and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, are petitioning the Pentagon to provide a full analysis of Iran’s military activity since last summer’s nuclear deal.
In a letter sent to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford on Oct. 11, Cruz, Ayotte and 15 other senators pointed to evidence that Iran has significantly increased its military activity since the nuclear accord went into effect.
“The plain purpose of transferring the payment in cash to Tehran was to circumvent the effects of U.S. and international financial sanctions,” the lawmakers wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Free Beacon. “Iran is almost certainly using this windfall to skirt the arms embargo and illicitly purchase weapons for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the terrorist organization Hizbullah, and/or the murderous Assad regime in Syria.”
“We are deeply concerned that this large infusion of U.S. taxpayer-funded cash into the coffers of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism is going to further embolden Iran and result in our troops and our allies confronting more lethal and better equipped adversaries and potential adversaries,” the letter states.
The letter also expresses concern over revelations that senior Pentagon leaders have said the Obama administration kept them in the dark about the cash payment to Iran.
“This makes it all the more disturbing that the Obama administration saw no reason to consult respected senior Pentagon officials like the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before sending the mullahs yet another installment in the form of the $1.7 billion cash ransom last January,” Cruz said. “Congress has an obligation to ensure President Obama’s willful blindness towards the very real threats we face does not further endanger the American people.”
The senators requested Carter and Dunford to provide an official assessment detailing Iran’s increased military behavior and financing of terrorism since the United States awarded it billions in economic relief as part of the nuclear agreement.