Iran: Defense Budget Increase Equals US ‘Ransom’ Payment

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One of the many dangers of the Iran nuclear deal was giving the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism access to millions of dollars in sanctions relief.

Western powers who enthusiastically embraced the deal sold it to the public on the premise that the Iranians would use the freed funds to provide a much-needed infusion of cash into their fledging economy, helping their own people who have been stuck in fiscal depression. (And if doing business with Iran helped Western businesses — waiting breathlessly to cash in on the deal — so much the better.)

Skeptics were labeled as doomsday naysayers stuck in the perception of Iran as a fanatical Islamist regime that would never open its heart to the West. However, rhetoric coming out of Iran since the deal has shown that those who opposed the deal were correct.

From Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei down to generals, commanders and lesser politicians, shrill anti-American rantings were ramped up, leaving no one in the dark about how the Iranian Islamist establishment used the gullible West to advance its goals.

One of the most astonishing post-deal moves was the cash payment of $1.7 billion in “ransom” for the release of five American political prisoners in Iran close to a year ago.  A recent report by Nimrod Raphaeli, a senior analyst at MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute, documents the increased military spending proposed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for the March 2017-March 2018 fiscal year.

Raphaeli documents that the budget submitted to the Majlis, Iran’s parliament shows a growth in defense spending of 39 percent, including a large increase in budget for the Revolutionary Guards, which includes the Quds Force brigade, “responsible for spreading Iran’s subversive and, often, terrorist activities across the Middle East and beyond.”

Raphaeli notes, “It is a commonly accepted premise that money is fungible. While we cannot establish whether the money transferred from the U.S. went directly into the expanded defense budget, it, at a minimum, enabled the government to release an equal amount of money for defense purposes.

“It is noteworthy that the increase in the proposed defense budget for 2017 is approximately equal to the amount transferred by the U.S. Whatever the source of the defense budget increase, the IRGC will have ample resources to expand its nefarious activities far beyond the borders of the Islamic Republic.”

Far from using Western money to better the lives of its own people, the Islamic Republic of Iran has unsurprisingly taken advantage of its newfound wealth to further its own hegemonic and ominous aspirations.  


Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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