The Iranian nuclear deal has never been a popular agreement, and became viewed in an increasingly negative light as details continue to emerge about some of the side deals that were made in the process.
Katie reported last week about the last minute prisoner exchange former President Obama arranged days before leaving office, which included the release of terrorists and the granting of immunity to a dangerous Iranian operative. Now, the Washington Free Beacon is reporting that Iran is using U.S. money released under the agreement to build up its military.
Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran's defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it "a forward moving force," according to regional reports.
Iranian leaders have stated since the Iran deal was enacted that they are using the massive amounts of cash released under the agreement to fund the purchase of new military equipment and other armaments. Iran also has pursued multi-million dollar arms deals with Russia since economic sanctions were nixed as part of the deal.
Leading members of Congress and U.S. officials working on the Iran portfolio suspect that at least a portion of the Obama administration's $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran has been used to fund and support terrorists in the Middle East.
The latest disclosure about Iran's military buildup is further fueling concerns that U.S. cash assets returned to the country—which were released with no strings attached by the Obama administration—are helping Iran pursue a more aggressive military stance against U.S. forces in the region.
"President Obama flat-out caved in to Iran when he handed them the disastrous nuclear deal and $1.7 billion in cash payments that could assist Iran's military," GOP Rep. Sean Duffy the Washington Free Beacon. "So it's no surprise that the world's lead sponsor of terrorism would feel emboldened to become more aggressive in the region and flex its military muscle."
The move has been described by one Iran analyst as a “major policy announcement with far-reaching consequences for foreign policy.” But former Pentagon adviser Michael Rubin told the Free Beacon that it shouldn’t come as a surprise, and the Obama administration should’ve known how it would use the cash.
"Obama and Kerry might as well have wired the money directly into the accounts of those seeking to enhance Iran's military, kill Sunnis, or sponsor terrorism,” he said.