Some Iran sanctions relief likely to go to terrorists: Kerry

DAVOS, Switzerland -- It's likely that some of the billions of dollars in sanctions relief granted to Iran under a landmark nuclear deal will go to groups deemed to be terrorists, U.S.

See Full Article

Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday. But, he added, he doesn't believe Iran will be able to use the freed-up cash to boost funding of malign activities if it is serious about revamping its economy.

Kerry said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum the U.S. or others can do little to prevent the now-unfrozen assets from getting into the hands of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps or "other entities" that Iran has supported in the past. But since nuclear-related sanctions were lifted on Iran last weekend, Kerry said, there is no evidence yet to suggest such transfers have occurred.

"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 told CNBC television in an interview. "You know, to some degree, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented. But I can tell you this: Right now, we are not seeing the early delivery of funds going to that kind of endeavour at this point in time."

In fact, Kerry later told a small group of reporters he understands the Revolutionary Guards are "already complaining that they are not getting the money." And he said there will be consequences if Iran is caught using the money to support terrorism.

"If we catch them funding terrorism, they're going to have a problem in the U.S. Congress and other people, obviously," he said.

"Whatever amount may flow to them, I am just trying to be honest, I can't tell people that, 'No, some amount might not,' but we don't believe that that is what has made the difference in the activities of Iran in the region," he said. "It is not money-based, and a whole lot of money isn't going to make a difference in a whole lot of places."

Kerry also said the administration believes the amount of money that might flow to terrorist groups will be limited because "the demands of Iran and of the Rouhani administration and of the supreme leader for development in their country are such that there is no way they can succeed in doing what they want to do if they are very busy funding a lot of terrorism and if they are putting money into that kind of enterprise and not into things they need to do to fund their economy."

In occasionally mocking tones, a group of Republican senators in Washington chided Kerry, telling reporters it was always clear to them that Iran would use its unfrozen assets to finance terrorism.

Led by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., the senators also said they plan to introduce legislation to impose tougher sanctions against Iran for conducting ballistic missile tests in violation of a U.N. resolution. They called the punishments proposed by the Obama administration for the testing "tepid and weak."

"Talk about stating the obvious. I mean, c'mon," Ayotte said of Kerry's remarks. "It's something we've all known from the beginning. (Iran) was supporting terrorism when their economy was crippled. They were choosing to put their money into guns, not butter, for their citizens before they had this economic relief.

"To have them actually now say, 'Well, we think some of this might go to terrorism.' Duh. I mean, really? It's been so obvious all along," she said.

Kerry repeated the Obama administration's argument that many critics of the Iran deal are inflating the amount of money that Iran now has access to. He said estimates of $100 billion to $150 billion are incorrect -- $55 billion is more accurate, he said -- because large chunks of that money is obligated to satisfy foreign debt.

In addition, he said Iran has more than $500 billion in infrastructure and development needs and must invest at least $100 billion to modernize its energy sector.

Earlier Thursday, Kerry rejected Iranian criticism of Washington's use of economic sanctions, saying they are imposed when appropriate.

Kerry said U.S. penalties against Iran and other nations have been "used judiciously and effectively" and will continue to be used in the future.

"We have made it very clear that we use sanctions when we think they are appropriate in order to counter behaviour that we believe has broken the law or has challenged the United Nations Security Council or threatened the United States and we stand by our sanctions," Kerry told reporters.

"We think they have been used judiciously and effectively and we are looking to move on now to put to test the willingness of Iran and other countries in the region to try to reduce tensions and move in a different direction."

His comments came in response to a complaint lodged a day earlier by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who told The Associated Press in an interview that new U.S. sanctions over Iran's ballistic missile testing are "illegal" and an example of an American "addiction to coercion." The penalties were imposed Sunday, a day after the U.S. and other nations lifted sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Workers at endangered Indiana plant feel forgotten by Trump

    World News CTV News
    HUNTINGTON, Ind. -- A full parking lot and 50-hour workweeks belie the anxiety at the United Technologies-owned factory outside a small northeastern Indiana city, where Mike Harmon and co-workers wonder whether they aren't just stockpiling parts for when the company sends their 700 jobs to Mexico. Source
  • CIA says Russia intervened to help Trump win White House, U.S. official says

    World News CBC News
    The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help president-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, a senior U.S. official said on Friday. Source
  • Worker killed after vehicle slides off hoist at B.C. auto repair shop

    Canada News CTV News
    VERNON, B.C. -- RCMP are investigating the death of an employee at an auto repair shop in Vernon, B.C. WorkSafeBC spokeswoman Trish Knight Chernecki says Mounties contacted the agency to report that a four-by-four vehicle slid off an elevated hoist and pinned a worker. Source
  • French gov't seeks state of emergency extension

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says 17 attacks have been thwarted in the country so far this year and he is asking Parliament to extend the state of emergency until July 15. Speaking after an extraordinary cabinet meeting, Cazeneuve said Saturday that Parliament will vote on the bill next week. Source
  • After weeks of protest in South Korea, crowds celebrate Park's impeachment

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- The previous time South Korea's parliament voted to impeach a president, ruling party lawmakers bawled and hurled ballot boxes, a man set himself on fire in front of the National Assembly, and thousands glumly held candlelight vigils night after night to save late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun. Source
  • Colombia's Santos accepts Nobel Peace Prize as 'gift from heaven'

    World News CTV News
    STOCKHOLM -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, saying it gave a boost to the "impossible dream" of ending his country's half-century-long civil war. In his acceptance speech, Santos described the award as a "gift from heaven" and dedicated it to all Colombians, particularly the 220,000 killed and 8 million displaced in the longest-running conflict in the Western Hemisphere. Source
  • The cost of accountability: Can Canadian police services afford body cam technology?

    Canada News CBC News
    One of the clearest conclusions following the recent Toronto Police Service pilot project of body-worn cameras was how positive the public felt about them. A police commissioned survey found 95 per cent strongly supported the idea and 85 per cent of the police officers involved agreed, according to Insp. Source
  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos collects Nobel Peace Prize

    World News CBC News
    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway. On the eve Saturday's ceremony, Santos described the award as a "gift from heaven" and dedicated it to all Colombians, particularly the victims of the country's 52-year-long civil war. Source
  • 5 killed in explosion following train derailment in Bulgaria

    World News CTV News
    SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Five people were killed in northeastern Bulgaria following a gas explosion on a derailed tanker train early Saturday, national radio reported. Officials said at least 23 people were injured, many with severe burns. Source
  • Russia says thousands fleeing Aleppo as Assad nears victory

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Some 50,000 civilians have fled eastern Aleppo over the past two days in a "constant stream," Russia said Saturday, as Syrian government forces close in on the last pocket of opposition control in the northern city. Source