Ordered Liberty

John Kerry's Letter to Congress Is a 'Guilty' Plea to the Charge That Iran Deal Materially Supports Terrorism

How could any member of Congress in good conscience support a deal that so blatantly empowers a brazen enemy of the United States — a regime that has killed thousands of Americans, a regime that daily continues to call for death to America and the annihilation of Israel — to the degree that even the Obama administration openly concedes that the deal materially supports terrorism?

No sooner did Obama lock up the Democratic support he needed in the Senate to ensure his deal cannot be defeated under the farcical Corker review process than did his Iran point-man, Secretary of State John Kerry, send a letter to members of Congress promising that more military aid would be given to Iran’s enemies, Israel and the Sunni Gulf states. Let’s put aside the absurdity of vowing, as Kerry does in the letter, that Obama’s deal will promote regional peace while simultaneously acknowledging that Iran’s enemies will need “increase[d] security assistance.” If the Obama administration were charged with committing material support to terrorism, a serious felony violation of federal law, Kerry’s letter would suffice as a “Guilty” plea.

The criminal statute that prohibits “providing material support to terrorists” (section 2339A of the federal penal code, Title 18) provides a jail sentence of up to 15 years — or up to life imprisonment if death results from the offense — for anyone who:

… provides material support or resources … knowing … that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, [an act of terrorism] … or in preparation for, or in carrying out, the concealment of an escape from the commission of any such violation, or attempts or conspires to do such an act[.]

The statute provides a sweeping definition of “material support or resources”:

The term “material support or resources” means any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials[.]

With that background, let’s turn to Kerry’s letter to members of Congress. It explicitly admits to:

Iran’s continued support for terrorist and proxy groups throughout the region, its propping up of the Assad regime in Syria, its efforts to undermine the stability of its regional neighbors, and the threat it poses to Israel.

Note that the State Department expressly designates both Iran and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism.

But this admitted “support for terrorist and proxy groups” is going to stop now thanks to Obama’s deal, right? Wrong. Kerry flatly confesses (my emphasis):

We have no illusion that this behavior will change following implementation of the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action– i.e., Obama’s Iran deal.]

Obama’s Iran deal will provide Iran with over $100 billion, and opens the door to its acquisition of sophisticated weaponry (wholly apart from Iran’s nuclear development activities).

It is, in short, the most astronomical provision of material support and resources to terrorism — as that term is defined in federal law (see above) — in the history of the world.

Kerry’s letter to Congress goes on to concede that, after implementation of the deal, there will be a continuing need “to deter and combat regional threats, including terrorism and Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.” Kerry elaborates that there will be continuing concerns about “arms transfers to Iranian backed Hizballah in Lebanon, Houthis in Yemen, and Shia militants in Iraq, as well as transfers involving North Korea.”

So, while the Obama administration ensures that money and materiel pour into Iran, Iran will continue to provide material support to terrorists, terrorist organizations, and terrorist regimes. In light of Kerry’s blatant acknowledgment of this fact, the State Department’s most recent report on Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism, from 2014, is worth quoting at length:

Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2014, including support for Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanese Hizballah, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. This year, Iran increased its assistance to Iraqi Shia militias, one of which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), in response to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) incursion into Iraq, and has continued to support other militia groups in the region. Iran also attempted to smuggle weapons to Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza. While its main effort focused on supporting goals in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, Iran and its proxies also continued subtle efforts at growing influence elsewhere including in Africa, Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Latin America. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

Iran views Syria as a crucial causeway in its weapons supply route to Lebanese Hizballah, its primary beneficiary, and as a key pillar in its “resistance” front. In 2014, Iran continued to provide arms, financing, training, and the facilitation of primarily Iraqi Shia and Afghan fighters to support the Asad regime’s brutal crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of at least 191,000 people in Syria, according to August UN estimates.

The IRGC-QF, in concert with Lebanese Hizballah, provided training outside of Iraq as well as advisors inside Iraq for Shia militants in the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device (IED) technology and other advanced weaponry.

Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). These Palestinian terrorist groups have been behind a number of deaths from attacks originating in Gaza and the West Bank.

[I]n a November 25 speech, Supreme Leader Khamenei highlighted Iran’s military support to “Palestinian brothers” in Gaza and called for the West Bank to be similarly armed. In December, Hamas Deputy Leader Moussa Abu Marzouk announced bilateral relations with Iran and Hamas were “back on track.”

In March, Israeli naval forces boarded the Klos C cargo ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Sudan. On board, they found 40 M-302 rockets, 180 mortars, and approximately 400,000 rounds of ammunition hidden within crates of cement labeled “Made in Iran” and believed to be destined to militants in the region.

Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict, Iran has also assisted in rearming Lebanese Hizballah, in direct violation of UNSCR 1701. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the IRGC Aerospace Force stated in November that “The IRGC and Hezbollah are a single apparatus jointed together,” and Lebanese Hizballah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem boasted that Iran had provided his organization with missiles that had “pinpoint accuracy” in separate November public remarks. Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Lebanese Hizballah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran. These trained fighters have used these skills in direct support of the Asad regime in Syria and, to a lesser extent, in support of operations against ISIL in Iraq. They have also continued to carry out attacks along the Lebanese border with Israel.

Hezbollah and Hamas have long been formally designated foreign terrorist organizations under federal law.

Obviously, there is no disputing the Obama administration’s patent knowledge that much of the material support its deal will provide to the terror-sponsoring regime in Tehran will be funneled to these and other designated foreign terrorist organizations. This means yet another criminal statute prohibiting material support to terrorism is implicated (Section 2339B of the federal penal code).

That law states:

Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

The statute goes on to require proof that an accused person knows:

 … that the organization is a designated terrorist organization[,] … that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorist activity[,] … or that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorism[.]

It is incontestable that President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and their subordinates know all three things about Hezbollah and Hamas, even though the statute requires knowledge of only one of them to establish guilt.

It bears emphasizing that for all their absurd claims about how the president’s Iran deal reins in Iran’s nuclear program, even Obama administration officials feel compelled to admit that Iran will step up its material support to terrorism while it is receiving the windfall from the deal.

That is not just unconscionable; it is criminal.

How can Obama’s Iran deal conceivably be supported by anyone who claims to oppose international terrorism or support Israel?