A senior US military leader warned, during an affidavit to Congress, of easing sanctions on Iran, pointing to 4 major repercussions.
General Stephen Townsend, who led US Africa Command until August this year, said Iran would use cash assets provided by the Biden administration under the new nuclear deal to fund regional terrorist groups and strengthen the capabilities of a militia network committed to assassinating US officials.
He added that Iran would use “at least some of the resources it gained from sanctions relief” to increase its illicit shipments of advanced weapons to terrorist groups operating in Africa and the Near East region.
This came according to written information he submitted to Senator Joni Earnest after a public hearing before Congress, a copy of which was obtained by the American “Washington Free Beacon” website.
In addition to strengthening Iran’s terrorist allies such as the Houthi militia in Yemen, “the easing of sanctions will enable Tehran to expand the Iranian Threat Network, a group of terrorist cells run by the IRGC’s Quds Force focused on assassinating US officials,” Townsend said.
While the new nuclear deal is expected to extend Iran up to trillions of dollars for the duration of the deal, a coalition of Republican lawmakers on Wednesday introduced new legislation that would prevent the Biden administration from implementing the agreement until it assures Congress that Iran has not engaged in assassination plots against Americans. within five years.
The bill, sponsored by Ernst and Representative Michael Waltz, sparked “continued Iranian efforts to assassinate former US officials, such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”
Townsend’s testimony is likely to galvanize more support for the legislation even among Democrats, some of whom have written to President Joe Biden to express their concerns about the impending deal.
“It is hard to understand that, after countless attacks on Americans, and numerous proven plots against American officials, the Biden administration continues to court Iran in the hope of concluding the so-called mythical nuclear deal,” Earnest said in a statement.
“President Biden should not offer a penny of sanctions relief to the largest state sponsor of terrorism, which is actively trying to kill American officials and citizens, at home and abroad,” she added.
Townsend, who testified before Congress in mid-March, emphasized that the sanctions relief provided under the revised version of the 2015 nuclear deal would directly finance Iranian-backed terrorist organizations. His analysis was submitted in written form to Ernst after Ernst posed a series of additional questions after that briefing.
“If the JCPOA is renewed, Iran is likely to use at least some of the resources it gained from sanctions relief to intensify its pursuit of its interests in Africa,” Townsend said.
He added, “Tehran is likely to allocate more revenue to enhance lethal aid facilities to… [الحوثيين] in Yemen through smuggling routes and East Africa, and may further develop the capabilities of the Iranian Threat Network (ITN) on the continent.”
Once the Iranian regime has access to the hard currency that will be freed under the deal, it will “likely seek opportunities to exploit regional conflicts and counterterrorism needs of African governments to increase arms sales, enhance defense cooperation, and undermine Western and Israeli partnerships and ambitions.”
Since the end of 2020, at least 10 assassination plots orchestrated by the Iranian threat network in the region have been thwarted, according to Townsend, including two against US officials in Africa, while other plots targeted Israeli interests.
He noted that the terrorist threat network “has increased its activity and remains intent on expanding its capabilities in Africa, most likely through proxies and recruiting agents.”
The Ernst-sponsored bill aims to prevent Iran from using the money it receives under the nuclear deal to fund assassination plots, and the legislation would stop the administration from easing sanctions until the State Department “can certify that there are no assassination attempts or rewards for the assassination of former or current senior government officials.” for five years.”