By “Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon
The Obama administration on Wednesday paid $490 million in cash assets to Iran and will have released a total of $11.9 billion to the Islamic Republic by the time nuclear talks are scheduled to end in June, according to figures provided by the State Department.
Today’s $490 million release, the third such payment of this amount since Dec. 10, was agreed to by the Obama administration under the parameters of another extension in negotiations over Tehran’s contested nuclear program that was inked in November.
Iran will receive a total of $4.9 billion in unfrozen cash assets via 10 separate payments by the United States through June 22, when talks with Iran are scheduled to end with a final agreement aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear work, according to a State Department official.
Iran received $4.2 billion in similar payments under the 2013 interim agreement with the United States and was then given another $2.8 billion by the Obama administration last year in a bid to keep Iran committed to the talks through November, when negotiators parted ways without reaching an agreement.
Iran will have received a total of $11.9 billion in cash assets by the end of June if current releases continue on pace as scheduled.
The release of this money has drawn outrage from some Republican lawmakers who filed legislationlast year to prevent the release of cash due to a lack of restrictions on how Iran can spend the money.
These cash payments by the United States have been made with no strings attached, prompting concerns that Iran could use the funds to finance its worldwide terror operations, which include the financial backing of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other rogue entities.
Senators—including Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), and John Cornyn (R., Texas)—sought last year to put a hold on the cash infusions until the White House could certify that Iran was not using the money to support terrorism.
Kirk, who is preparing to offer legislation that would tighten sanctions on Iran, said that the ongoing payments could help Iran fuel its terror empire well into the near future.
“Between November 2014 and July 2015, the interim deal’s direct forms of sanctions relief will allow Iran access to roughly $4.9 billion in frozen money,” Kirk told the Washington Free Beacon “That’s equal to what it’d cost Iran to fund Hezbollah for as much as 50 years.”
The Pentagon estimates Iran has spent $100 to $200 million per year funding Hezbollah.
Entities likely to receive support from Iran include the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the legislation suggests.