The Iranian government is pleading with the Trump administration to lift sanctions as the country grapples with the coronavirus, despite the fact Tehran spent the majority of its budget on terrorist organizations over the nation’s public health and safety, according to analysts.
Moreover, Iran continues to reject any U.S. offer to help with the crisis. The U.S. State Department offered a solution at the onset of the outbreak to Iran by lifting sanctions for those bringing medical and humanitarian supplies to support their efforts against the virus.
“The regime is notorious for using the humanitarian exception to facilitate billions of dollars in illicit transactions and international banks know this. And, in fact, the Financial Action Task Force, an international body that scrutinizes these activities, has recently reimposed countermeasures on Iran for its illicit activities,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz explained in a video posted Monday to social media.
FACT: The regime is notorious for abusing the humanitarian exception to sanctions for the sake of facilitating billions of dollars in illicit transactions.
International banks know this. pic.twitter.com/faRilAbVhb
— FDD (@FDD) March 30, 2020
Dubowitz continued, “The United States has offered Iran repeatedly help to deal with the coronavirus crisis, help that the regime has rejected.”
Earlier this month, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei refused to accept U.S. assistance to his country in their time of need. His reason was based on a conspiracy that blamed the U.S. for creating the virus.
“I do not know how real this accusation is, but when it exists, who in their right mind would trust you to bring them medication?” Khamenei said. “Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more.”
There are currently 44,605 confirmed cases of the virus in Iran and 2,898 are reported dead, the numbers may be underreported.
The truth is, Iran has a “rainy day” fund to support the well-being of its people, however, the government has continued to redirect that money to its nefarious operations outside the country.
In 2018, Khameinei diverted $4 billion in U.S. aid originally allocated to the country’s “National Development Fund”, $2.5 billion of which was moved to strengthen “Iran’s defense capabilities.” The remaining U.S. funding reportedly went to Iran’s state-run broadcaster and country “development plans.” The fund was intended to serve as a financial safety net for the welfare Iranian people, according to the U.S. Treasury.
In Feb, 2019, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. in April, 2019, was taking $1.5 billion in funding from the so-called “National Development Fund” to support its ramping up of military operations.
In 2020, Khamenei rerouted 200 million euros to support the IRGC’s Qods Force as “Counter-Measures Against U.S,” following the U.S.’s targeted killing of notorious IRGC General Qassem Soleimani and military Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. That directive included as a designation of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organization.