Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday acknowledged that Iran funds terrorist proxies across the Middle East, but confirmed that the Biden administration is looking to lift sanctions against the regime in Tehran anyway.
In doing so, he echoed the arguments put forward by the Obama administration to the effect that Iran would be even more dangerous without a nuclear deal – thereby justifying an agreement that freed up billions of dollars for the terror-sponsoring regime.
On ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos noted that 42 Republican senators have urged President Biden to halt diplomatic talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to “make it clear that sanctions will remain in place because of Iranian funding of Hamas.”
“Do you believe that Iran is funding Hamas?” Stephanopoulos asked. “And if they are, should the sanctions stay in place?”
Blinken’s reply did not include the word “Hamas,” but he agreed that the regime was “engaged in a number of activities, including funding extremist groups, supporting terrorism more broadly, supporting very dangerous proxies that are taking destabilizing actions throughout the Middle East, [and] proliferating weapons.”
However, he continued, “an Iran with a nuclear weapon or with the capability to build one in very short order is going to act with even greater impunity in those areas, which just adds to the urgency of trying to put the nuclear problem back in the box that the nuclear agreement put it in.”
Blinken added that many of those activities had continued under the Trump administration, despite its “so-called maximum pressure” campaign.
“But the first thing that we need to do is put the nuclear problem back in the box,” he said. He confirmed again that a return to the JCPOA will entail the U.S. lifting sanctions that are “inconsistent with the nuclear agreement.”
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