Biden’s Sanction Relief Will Fund Iranian Terror Plots, Former US Official Says

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The Biden administration’s nuclear deal with Iran will lift sanctions on the hardline regime’s government organization that funds assassination plots and puts bounties on the country’s political enemies, according to a former U.S. official and Iranian government documents.

As part of the administration’s efforts to secure a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal, the United States will unwind sanctions on an Iranian government organization called the 15 Khordad Foundation, which offers bounties for the assassination of Iran’s political enemies. The foundation, for example, is behind the $3.3 million bounty on author Salman Rushdie’s head, which is believed to have in part motivated the attacker who earlier this month stabbed Rushdie 10 times during a public appearance, nearly killing him.

“Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain.” Esther 3:8 

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“Biden’s new Iran deal would lift sanctions on the very organizations raising bounties to kill Americans,” said Gabriel Noronha, a former senior Iran adviser at the State Department during the Trump administration and now a distinguished fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. “That will help Iran raise the funds to kill American dissidents and officials.”

Noronha confirmed earlier this year with State Department officials that these sanctions will be lifted. Critics of the nuclear deal, including Republicans in Congress, say the Biden administration is incentivizing Iran’s global terror campaign and endangering American assassination targets, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former White House national security adviser John Bolton, who was recently the target of a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The 15 Khordad Foundation is best known for its decades-long bounty on Rushdie, which increased from its initial $2 million reward to $2.5 million in 1997. It rose again in 1999 to $2.8 million and then in 2012 to its present-day $3.3 million, as the organization received increased funding. The foundation receives its budget and direction from Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s office.

Nearly 6 percent of the funds included in Iran’s 2021-2022 national budget went to groups like the 15 Khordad Foundation, which are exempt from taxes, financial reporting rules, and anti-corruption regulations.

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